The Power of Buckwheat

Lately I see more and more recipes where buckwheat flour is used. I am not a stranger to the buckwheat and I enjoy it regularly but as a groats. I usually would have it with a simple sauce or just with a bit of butter. 
But seeing so many delicious looking recipes I was really tempted to try out a few.
So yesterday I spent quite some time in my kitchen cooking, baking and trying out and I ended up with 3 recipes I would like to share with you.
But before I will share them with you, let me tell you a word about the buckwheat.

What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is a plant cultivated for its triangular grains. Although it’s called buckwheat it’s actually not wheat so it gluten-free.  
A grain that is technically the fruit of a plant related to rhubarb, buckwheat is high in protein and B vitamins and rich in iron, calcium, and many other goodness.
How to select?
Buckwheat is sold in whole, cracked form or as flour. When buying make sure that you check the packaging and the content. It should be free from any dirt, grime, pebbles and make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
How to store?
Store buckwheat in an airtight container and keep in a cool dry place. Buckwheat flour should be always stored in the refrigerator.
Stored properly, whole buckwheat can last up to one year, while the flour will keep fresh for several months.
Now back to the delicious recipes I want to share. Here you will find three recipes I liked the most.  All of three are easy to make and won’t require a lot of ingredients. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I did! 
Cocoa and Cinnamon Buckwheat Pancakes
Prep time : 20 min
Cooking time : 10 min
(Serves 2)
100 g buckwheat flour
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder
120-150 ml milk
Mix flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder then whisk in milk until combined. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Heat up oil in a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot ladle batter to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes then turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Serve with honey or maple syrup or fresh fruit.
Pizzoccheri Pasta
Pizzoccheri is, thick, flat noodle made of buckwheat and is speciality dish of Valtellina in the Italian Alps. Pizzoccheri dish usually combines buckwheat noodles, potatoes, cabbage and cheese. But I enjoyed it with just a simple tomato sauce and little bit of cheese.
Prep time : 15 min + for pasta to dry
Cooking time : 10-15 min
(Serves 4)
400 g buckwheat flour
4 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Mix flour, salt, oil and eggs until dough forms. Knead for 5 min then cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 2 hours.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out into large rectangle. Carefully fold the dough by thirds each end towards the middle. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2 cm wide lengths. Toss the strands lightly with a little more flour and leave to dry.
To cook pasta, in a large pan bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 10-15 min, drain.  Serve with cheese or any sauce of your choice.
Walnut and Raisin Buckwheat Cookies
Prep time : 15 min + 30 min to chill
Cooking time : 12-15 min
(Makes approx. 20-25 cookies, depends on the size)
125 g plain flour
100 g buckwheat flour
90 g unsalted butter, softened
60 g sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Handful of raisin and walnut mix
3 tablespoon melted dark chocolate to drizzle over cookies
Mix plain and buckwheat flour in a bowl, set aside. 
Beat together butter, salt and sugar until smooth; add walnuts and raisins. Add flours and mix until incorporated. Wrap with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180⁰C, line baking sheet.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough, about 1 cm thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter and place cookies onto baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Cool completely before drizzling with chocolate.
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