There is only one grain that has ever vexed me. That grain is teff.
It’s failed me more than once. One of those times was a couple of years ago in the Hearst Mansion parking lot. We were driving from here to there in our Airstream trailer and needed a little snack for tea time. I had a brand new bag of teff. I found a cookie recipe featuring the world’s smallest grain and whipped up a batch. About 15 minutes later I pulled a sheet tray full of crumbs out of the oven. The grain had mocked me.
I tried to redeem myself a year later. This time I played it safe and made the muffin recipe on the back of the bag. The batter looked pretty dry going in but I trusted Bob and his recipe testers over at the Red Mill. But these did not turn out to be muffins; they were round biscotti. I whipped up my version of crème anglaise, poured it over their still-warm bodies and ate them up. I called it a deconstructed bread pudding.
Last week I went back to the bag with the same strategy. I decided to try the other recipe on the back of the bag. However, due to my previous experience with Bob, I decided to take a few liberties. I changed the nut butter, made my own, changed the shape and added chocolate. If all else failed, at least I had a bowl full of melted chocolate.
But they worked! And I sent my sister this camera phone photo. She sends me photos of her adorable child, I send her photos of cookies.
Teff and Almond Butter Cookie recipe
Makes about 36 two-biters
1/2 bar yummy artisanal chocolate (I used Mast Brothers Sambirano Valley)
OR 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups unsalted toasted almonds (or 1 cup almond butter)
1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 c canola oil
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c teff
Heat oven to 350.
Spread almonds into single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Shake tray about halfway through to remind them to toast evenly.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly brush with oil.
Put chocolate chips in a large glass or metal bowl over a pot of hot water. Double boiler simulation. Turn heat to high. Leave them alone. They’ll melt.
Put almonds in food processor. Blend until almonds become almond butter. Add oil, maple syrup and vanilla and blend until thoroughly blended. In this instance, you can add dry to wet. Add teff and salt to wet mixture and pulse until incorporated.
Pinch off about two tablespoons of dough. Make an a-okay sign with your left hand. Put dough in circle part of a-okay and press and turn with your right hand until you get a nice mini-cylinder. Alternatively, make two tablespoons of dough into a ball and press between your palms slightly flatten. Dough is a bit crumbly so I prefer the a-okay method.
Make a wee indentation in the top of each cookie. Dollop in the chocolate. Bounce your spoon/knife on the dollop a bit to get the Hershey’s Kiss effect.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. Do not overbake. Their bottoms will brown slightly but not much. They may even feel slightly soft. 15 min maximum.
Transfer onto cooling rack immediately.
Eat while chocolate is still molten.* Give to sister and her adorable child when slightly cooled.
PS- You don’t have to cook them all at once. The dough will last in the fridge for about five days or so. Bake a batch when you want them. Hot and fresh.
*Eat molten things at your own risk. Not responsible for burnt tongues, fingers, etc or chocolate drippings on your favorite slippers.