As I age, I start to become wiser and learn the importance of incorporating whole grains into my diet. While I find it rather easy to add whole grains in my daily meals (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal), I rarely use them in my baking.
At times, when I bake a cake or cookies, I would swap some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. That was as adventurous as I get. There are many different types of whole-grain flour that I hardly use (and some I have not even heard of) – and often I only dare to use whole wheat flour, fearing that my bake will taste like wet cardboard.
To boost my courage, last year, I bought Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain. Boyce cleverly categorised her recipes by different types of whole-grain flour. Some whole-grain flours are rather expensive and even hard to come by. Hence you can work through the recipes based on your budget and what you can find.
One of the whole-grain flours that I have in my pantry is buckwheat. When I think about buckwheat, two things come to my mind – Breton galette and soba noodles. Would I have thought of using it for cookies? The answer is a big fat no. So to my surprise, these wafers tasted really delicious. They are earthy and buttery, and yet they are not overly rich. Depending on the baking time, mine was crunchy on the outside and crumbly in the inside. The texture and taste are similar to a shortbread (which I love).
The truth is whole grains produce/ bake actually exude more flavours – you get a bit of nuttiness, a hint of smokiness and a crunchy texture. This is one bite that is not just tasty, it is good for your tummy too (unless you intend to eat all the cookies by yourself).
Poppy seed wafers
(Adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain)
The recipe makes quite a lot of wafers. You can easily halve the recipe. But why do that? You can keep the extra log of dough in the freezer for up to one month. It’s always a good thing to have cookie dough in your freezer.
Recipe type: Snack, Dessert
Prep time: 20 minutes
Resting time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15-17 minutes
Serve: Makes about 72 wafers
180g buckwheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill which can be found in Cold Storage and Jason’s)
120g all-purpose flour
180g granulated sugar
1½ teaspoon kosher salt (or 1¼ teaspoon table salt)
170g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I used pure cream)
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds*
Egg whites from the separated eggs
– In a small bowl, whisk the cream and egg yolks together and set aside.
– Sift the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Pour back into the bowl any bits that may remain in the sift.
– Add the cubed and soften butter into the dry mix. Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry mix. You will get a “wet soil” mixture. Add in the cream and egg yolks mixture into the bowl. Continue mixing until everything is incorporated and a crumbly dough is formed.
– Cover the bowl with cling wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for an hour before rolling them into logs**.
– Divide the chilled dough into half (I like to weigh and divide them accordingly) (keep the other half in the fridge until you are ready to roll it). I like to use cling wrap to roll the dough into logs. Spread the dough evenly on a cling wrap. Using your hands, squeeze the dough together to lengthen and roll it into a log that is about 8” long. Don’t be overly concern if you cannot get the perfect round shape. Wrap the log in cling wrap and chill for another one hour. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
– In a small bowl, mix the poppy seeds and sugar together and pour onto a baking tray or plate. Gently brush one log of dough with the egg whites and roll it in the poppy seed/ sugar mixture until it is entirely covered. Repeat for the other log. Once that is completed, put the logs of dough back into the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven.
– Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 180oC***. Line two baking trays with parchment or Silpat.
– Slice the logs into 0.5cm thick wafers. Place the wafers on the lined baking tray with at least 5cm spacing in between each wafer (they will expand slightly during baking).
– Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. The wafers should be dark golden brown with a darker ring around the edge.
– Cool the wafers on a rack and repeat with the remaining wafers.
– These wafers are best eaten the day that they’re made. But they can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.
* If you cannot get hold of poppy seed or intend to let children have the wafers, you can easily substitute it with toasted (black) sesame seeds or use another tablespoon of granulated sugar for the coating.
** Depending on where you are from, in Singapore, the high humidity causes the dough to be rather soft and hard to roll/ manage. What I like to do is to chill the dough before rolling them into logs.
*** If you only have one rack in your oven, you can place the second baking tray in the fridge and take it out when you are ready to bake.