I recently purchased Alice Medrich's book Pure Dessert. If you don't already own it, you should.
Pure Dessert is a beautiful book. The premise behind it is that desserts shouldn't be overcomplicated - so that flavors get lost - but pared down so that individual ingredients really come through. The book is divided into sections: The Flavors of Chocolate; The Flavors of Grain, Nuts and Seeds; The Flavors of Wine, Beer and Spirits, to name a few. And each section focuses on bringing out all of the complexities of flavors of each of those elements.
In Pure Dessert, Alice Medrich also uses ingredients in unusual and fresh ways, taking a common dessert and putting an unexpected spin on it. Some recipes that immediately come to mind are Golden Kamut Shortbread, Lebni Tart, Red Wine Granita, and the first (and only) recipe I've had a chance to try: Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies. Though trust me, you will be seeing all of the above - and then some - in the coming weeks!
One of the things that drew me to this cookie was the buckwheat flour. I don't think I've ever had it in anything except pancakes, so I was intrigued by its use in a cookie, and had no idea what to expect. Of course the nibs and the word "butter" were equally as enticing...
They don't look like much - they're rather homely little cookies - but boy are they fantastic!!! These have shot straight to the top of the list of my favorite cookies of all time. They are very sophisticated with the buckwheat and the nibs, both of which lend a bitterness to the cookie. They are just slightly sweet, and oh so buttery. Actually, the only change I would make to these - though I love them just the way they are -would be to try them with a little less butter. The recipe calls for 2 sticks, and they are a little on the greasy side. However, I would hate to mess with these too much, because they are so delicious.
I can't wait to try everything else in this book - and I do mean everything.