Pastry chef and activitst Natasha Pickowicz is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to bake up a couple of her favorite recipes from her cookbook, "More Than Cake: 100 Baking Recipes Built for Pleasure and Community." She shows us how to make chocolaty buckwheat and brown butter cookies and shortbread bars filled with crunchy granola.
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Nubby Granola Shortbread by Natasha Pickowicz
This breakfast-inspired shortbread is a special way to utilize the last serving of your favorite granola, which adds a mysterious crunch to the buttery cookie. Sandy ultrafine rice flour enhances this cookie's naturally melt-in-your-mouth texture. Cold cubed butter is worked into the dry ingredients using a food processor before the dough is pressed into a pan with your knuckles. The final flurry of powdered sugar is essential.
Because of its impressive life span after being baked, a pan of this shortbread, scored but not cut, is an exceptional, easy gift — it stays fresh for over a week and will survive even the bumpiest journey.
Brown Butter, Buckwheat and Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Natasha Pickowicz
Chocolate chip cookies get their chewy, toffee-like texture from a mixture of white and brown sugars. The sugars dissolve as they are whipped with the eggs, which is the same technique that gives great brownies a satin, crackly finish (you get that with these cookies, too). Think of sugar less as a singular "flavor" and more of a seasoning or enhancer, like salt. A little sugar nudges butter and flour into bolder, more vibrant versions of themselves. It can soften the edges of bitter, acidic chocolates. Use too much, though, and it mutes and dulls other ingredients.
The butter is browned until nutty and fragrant. Toasting wheat and buckwheat flours coaxes out their natural, earthen sweetness. Both the dark chocolate and the creamy semisweet chocolate are chopped into boulder-like chunks. Buy the best single-origin, ethically sourced vanilla extract you can find for the cookie's characteristic caramel undertones.
If you like those any-time-of-day dessert recipes, you should also try these:
Carrot Halwa Bars by Samah Dada
Lemon, Lime and Earl Grey Sablés by Samantha Seneviratne
This article was originally published on TODAY.com