for the first time in a while, I picked up a fairly short, breezy read, a actual work of fiction. I’ll admit it only caught my eye because the author’s name is andrew sean greer, which immediately reminded me of a friend from high school who went by sean andrew – god forbid you ever address him as just sean.
maybe the whole netflix-driven marie kondo craze had me feeling in the mood to spark some joy in my life, because though the book, less, did not immediately pull me in (the main character is anxious, indecisive, bumbling, a bit forgettable – not the classic traits of a novel’s hero), I kept reading. it’s a travel-driven plot done well, with tons of cheeky literary references that anyone who loves the english language would appreciate, and each page brings more often hilarious, sometimes poignant incidents that draw the reader in further.
I think the moment I fell in love with the book was during the chapter in berlin, when the author described what made arthur, the main character, so alluring:
“he kisses – how do I explain it? like someone in love. like he has nothing to lose. like someone who has just learned a foreign language and can use only the present tense and only the second person. only now, only you.”
what a beautiful way to describe a kiss, to condense the romantic ideal of love all into that one affectionate action. there were so many parts of the book that had me openly smiling in public, and after I finished the book, I reread it three more times.
anyways, I realize that this little ode to less has little to do with the gluten-free buckwheat chocolate chip cookie recipe below. but like realizing while reading a book that you’ve found a work that will become one of your favorites, when I smelled the ingredients mixing together and tasted the raw cookie dough for this recipe, I knew I’d love it. and experiencing that previously unknown, almost-nutty taste of buckwheat, perfectly tempered by the light sweetness of coconut, certainly sparked some joy.
30g (1/4 cup) shredded, unsweeted coconut
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
113g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
52g (1/2 cup) coconut oil, at room temperature
150g (3/4 cup, packed) light brown sugar
150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
226g (8oz) bittersweet chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa)
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
lisa ludwinski. sister pie: recipes and stories from a detroit bakery. new york: lorena jones books, 2018.
2 in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, coconut oil, and brown and granulated sugars on medium speed until homogeneous and paste-like (~4 minutes).
3 add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully combined (~2 minutes). scrape bowl thoroughly using silicone spatula, being sure to reach to the bottom of the bowl.
4 add flour mixture slowly and mix on low speed until flour is almost completely incorporated and only a few streaks of flour remain. using spatula, fold in chocolate chips. if you notice any flour at the bottom of the bowl, use spatula to finish mixing process.
5 scrape cookie dough from bowl onto big sheet of plastic wrap. wrap dough tightly and transfer to your refrigerator to rest for 24 hours to 3 days. (dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months.)
6 preheat oven to 350ºF. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7 take dough out of fridge 2-3 hours before baking. once dough has softened, use 1/4-cup measure to portion dough into 2-inch (or ~64g) balls. place on parchment-lined baking sheets. slightly flatten each cookie with palm and top with a few flakes of sea salt.
8 transfer baking sheets to oven and bake for 16-18 minutes, until edges are just slightly golden.
9 remove baking sheets from oven and transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. store in airtight container for up to 5 days.