12 Grains of Christmas

Cookies that celebrate the wonders of many grains

Brought to you from Ellie Markovitch 

#storycookingwww.storycooking.com 

 

The Story

This cookie project began when I was talking about pie crusts with my friend Amy Halloran. I use unsifted spelt flour at home, but I tend to make sifted wheat crusts for pies to share. Baking is sharing love, and love contains expectations; I don’t want to risk not meeting those hopes with a pie or cookie that has an uncommon color or taste. Yet I want to share my whole-grain love and joy when it’s time for gift giving!

Staring at my pantry with this puzzle in my mind, I saw at least a dozen flours. I realized I should just bake my pantry for Christmas, the way I do the whole year. I decided each cookie would be single grain.

Amy and I brainstormed a list of grains, and I turned my mind entirely to the task. It’s been a wonderful distraction during the election season and some COVID scares at home and at school. I would think about cookies always, drawing on my experiences growing up in Brazil, and all of my years of baking in my own home in America. I thought about them all day at work – I make lunches at my daughters’ school district. I’d snack on yesterday’s cookies when I got home, and take notes on the recipe I was solving. Then I’d bake a fraction of a batch of another variation, and offer samples at dinner, texting pictures to Amy all the while, asking her questions about flour and thinking long-distance with her about how to approach ingredients. Before bed I fiddled with another recipe, in my notebook and in the bowl; in the morning I’d make that miniature batch as I got us all ready for the day. I tasted cookies at breakfast to see how the flavors developed, how the cookies matured. I certainly have enjoyed the engagement, and the excuse to talk about baking with a friend!

These cookies are familiar but go on an adventure with flavors, and I hope they are an invitation you can offer your loved ones who might not be excited yet about whole grains. And of course, I hope you have as much fun making them as I did working on them. Merry Christmas!

Ellie Markovitch

Only the Best

Regional & wholesome grains

Amaranth Fruit Filled Rolls

Inspired by Brazilian Goiabinha , mini guava pastries. Makes about a dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

2⁄3 cup Amaranth flour
Pinch of coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1⁄3 cup of sugar
1 egg
~ 1⁄2 cup or so low sugar jam or cooked fruit, like figs, dates or berries Optional: 1-2 tsp spices, like cinnamon, allspice or a chai blend

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour and salt, & spices if using.
  3. In a separate bowl – by hand or with a mixer – cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add egg to butter and sugar and beat well.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture.
  6. Chill the dough for about an hour.
  7. To shape, roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper into two 5×7 rectangles.
  8. Spread jam or cooked fruit mixture off center on each rectangle.
  9. Fold the dough over on top of itself and gently press the dough together.
  10. Transfer the cookies seam side down to the prepared cookie sheet.

11.Cut each log into 6 cookies, but not all the way, to help keep the filling in.
12. Bake 350°F for 20 minutes or until golden. Take them out and finish cutting them.

Barley Savory Shortbread

A nice, festive snack. Makes about 20 small cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup barley flour
2 tablespoons chopped lemon rind (I used fermented) 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄3 teaspoon coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prep trays with a baking mat, parchment paper, or lightly grease.
  2. In a bowl, by hand or with a mixer, cream butter and cream cheese.
  3. Add flour and mix well.
  4. Stir in lemon rind, poppy seeds, thyme and salt.
  5. Bake 350°F for 17 minutes or until the button and edges of the cookies are light golden.

Buckwheat Linzer Cookies

These cookies are buttery and soft and they smell earthy and sweet. Makes about 2 dozen, 2-inch sandwich cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Maine Grains Buckwheat flour 1⁄4 teaspoon coarse salt
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
6 tablespoons of sugar

1 egg yolk
Jam or preserves for filling

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a bowl, by hand or with a mixer, cream butter and sugar.

  3. Add egg yolk and beat well.

  4. Add flour and salt to the butter mixture.

  5. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about an hour. As you work, if it gets too soft to handle,

    put it back in the fridge.

  6. R oll dough between two pieces of parchment paper or floured surface.

  7. Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies.

  8. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center of half of the cookies to create a

    window.

  9. Bake 375°F for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

  10. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them.

  11. Dust all the cookies with powdered sugar if desired.

  12. Sandwich the cookies with your favorite jam or fruit preserves.

Cornmeal Cookies

Inspired by my childhood memory of cornmeal cookies, Biscoitos de Fubá, which my mother always made with fennel. Makes about a dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Maine Grains Cornmeal
1⁄2 teaspoon ground fennel, optional (lime zest is a wonderful variation) Pinch coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 egg

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. Mix cornmeal, fennel and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl, by hand or with a mixer, cream butter and sugar.

  4. Add cream and egg and beat well.

  5. Fill a cookie press with the dough and turn them in the sheet about an inch apart. Or

    shape into a rectangle and mark with a fork.

  6. Bake 350°F for 13-15 minutes. I like them with a golden edge all around.

  7. Cool completely in the cookie sheet before removing.

 

Millet Brittle

Inspired by Brazilian Pé-de-moleque – a simple brittle made using peanuts, but here we use roasted millet. Makes about a dozen pieces.

INGREDIENTS:

1⁄2 cup millet
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon whey or water 1 tablespoon maple syrup Pinch of baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start by dry roasting the millet in a pan on low heat. No need to add oil. Just stir the whole time, for a couple minutes until light golden and fragrant.

  2. On another pot, heat up the sugar, whey or water and maple syrup.

  3. When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of baking soda and turn it off.

  4. Stir in the prepared millet.

  5. Work quickly and spread in a thin layer on a baking mat and let it cool completely.

  6. Break into chunks and store in a jar.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

This is my serenade to Maine, a beautiful lace of local oats for the local beauty I see on family walks at the ocean, in between the trees in the woods. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons butter, softened 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon molasses

1 cup of oat flour (make your own by pulsing old fashioned oats in a blender until fine) 1⁄4 teaspoon cloves, optional
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup Maine Grains Old Fashioned Oats

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a bowl, by hand or with a mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg and molasses.

  3. Add to the butter mixture the oatmeal flour, baking soda, salt, cloves and mix well.

  4. Fold in old fashioned oats and chill the dough for at least an hour.

  5. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of dough into the prepared baking sheet – only make 6

    cookies per baking sheet. They will spread very thin as they bake.

  6. Bake 375°F for 6-8 minutes or until dark golden edges. The center will be soft when you take them out of the oven so do not try to remove them from the tray, they will fall apart.

    Instead, keep them in the cookie sheet for at least 15 minutes to cool completely.

  7. Your patience will be rewarded. These buttery crisp cookies will set in a beautiful “lace”

    pattern.

Rice Pastry Puffs and Profiteroles

Developing choux pastry from rice was so rewarding. I’m so happy to have this special recipe to share for profiteroles and eclairs, for a savory or sweet filling.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 cup Stone Ground White Rice flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) 4 large eggs, beaten

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. Combine the butter, water, salt, and sugar if using in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a rolling boil.

  3. Turn off the heat and add the rice flour, stirring until the flour is completely incorporated and forms a ball.

  4. Return the pan to low heat and cook for another 1-2 minutes stirring the whole time.

  5. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and let it cool to the touch.

  6. Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and turn on low speed. Add the beaten eggs

    slowly in a total of 2 minutes mixing until smooth and shiny.

  7. Spoon or pipe into the prepared baking sheet and bake 400°F for 20-25 minutes.

 

Rye Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

Rye flour loves spices, and dresses up nicely for the season. Makes about 48 medium cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

3 1⁄2 cups Maine Grains Rye flour 4 tbsp cocoa powder and extra for the rolling
1⁄4 teaspoons salt
3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1⁄3 cup unsulphured molasses

Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:

Whisk 1 egg white, pasteurized if desired, 1⁄2 tsp cream tartar and 11⁄2 cups confectioners sugar, more or less depending on the size of the egg white.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.

  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until

    light and fluffy.

  4. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined.

  5. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.

  6. Roll out the dough and cut shapes with your favorite cookie cutters.

  7. Bake 350 °F for 10 minutes.

Sorghum Pecan Bars

This recipe makes lovely thumbprint cookies as well. Cut into 9 or 12 squares.

INGREDIENTS:

2⁄3 cup sorghum flour
2⁄3 cup pecans, chopped
1⁄4 cup sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
3 tablespoons of butter, cubed 1 egg

Cranberry sauce:

Cook one cup of cranberries with a couple tablespoons of sugar, 1⁄4 cup of orange juice, bay leaf. When the berries are cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and blend into smooth paste if desired.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a food processor, pulse pecans to a coarse meal.

  3. Add flour, sugar and salt and pulse a couple times.

  4. Add butter and pulse until the butter is pea size.

  5. With the processor running, add the egg until the dough comes together in a ball.

  6. Press 3⁄4 of the dough into a tart 8×8 tart pan, reserving the rest for topping.

  7. Add cranberry sauce or favorite jam.

  8. Sprinkle the remaining dough on top.

  9. Bake 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool.

  10. Melt 1⁄2 cup of white chocolate chips with 1 tsp of oil and drizzle over the bar.

  11. Cut into squares when completely cool.

Spelt Thumbprint Cookies

Don’t be shy about playing with the fillings and decorations. Makes about a dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

1⁄4 cup butter, softened
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 cup sugar (half granulated + half light brown), depending on taste and jam
1 egg
1 1⁄2 cups Maine Grains Spelt flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon coarse salt
Decorate with dried rose petals, dried coconut or chopped nuts. Fill with jam, chocolate or dulce de leche

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a bowl, by hand or with a mixer, cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg and sour cream.

  3. Add spelt flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well.

  4. Chill the dough for about an hour.

  5. Takeateaspoonofdoughandmakeadiscandrolltheedgesindriedrosepetals.

  6. Make a thumbprint on each cookie, filled with jam or pieces of chocolate.

  7. Bake 350°F for 11-13 minutes or golden edges.

  8. Let cookies cool completely.

Teff Chocolate Snowcaps

Gluten and dairy free, this twist on a classic is full of flavor. Makes about 16 small cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1⁄4 cup of cocoa powder 1⁄4 cup of sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 egg

3⁄4 cup teff flour
1⁄4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon instant espresso 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon coarse salt Confectioners sugar for rolling

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or prep with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. Mix cocoa powder, sugar, oil and egg, by hand or with a mixer.

  3. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

  4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture

  5. Chill the dough for at least a couple hours or overnight.

  6. Scoop a teaspoon size of dough, roll into confectioners sugar.

  7. Bake 350°F for 7 minutes.

Wheat Stamped Sugar Cookies

Makes about a dozen. These are unbelievably satisfying for being so simple!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups Maine Grains Sifted Wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon coarse salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or to taste) 10 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
For the glaze mix: 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 4-5 tablespoons of cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prep trays with a baking mat, parchment paper, or lightly grease.

  2. Mix flour, cardamom and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl – by hand or with a mixer – cream butter and sugar.

  4. Add egg and beat well.

  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture.

  6. Chill the dough before shaping.

  7. Take about one tablespoon of dough and flat to a disk.

  8. Dip the cookie stamp into flour and then press the dough.

  9. Transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheet and bake 350°F for 10-11 minutes.

10.Let cookies cool completely and apply glaze with a pastry brush and let it set.