We tend to see train stations as transient spaces, yet Grand Central Terminal is a destination in itself. When I moved from the palm-less island of Manhattan to Connecticut over two decades ago, we were looking for larger digs. I realized that many spend forty-five minutes or more taking the subway to work within Manhattan or from one of the Burroughs, and taking a commuter train on the New Haven line seemed more comfortable to me. Interestingly, some of the best views of the Long Island Sound are from the train. Long Island Sound extends more than six hundred miles of Connecticut and Long Island coastline that flow into the North Atlantic Ocean.
The beauty of the Beaux Arts architecture of Grand Central Terminal also lured me into becoming a commuter, and it is a perfect example of this luxurious and elegant style that pays homage to classical architecture. I am awestruck every time I look at its turquoise celestial star-studded ceiling mural. Grand Central Terminal opened in 1913. Reed & Stem and Warren & Wetmore were responsible for the architecture. Three-quarters of a million people pass through it daily and more during the summer and holidays. It is the second most visited destination in New York after Times Square. However, on a recent trip on one hungry morning, it was a cookie that captured my heart.
Salted chocolate buckwheat cookies
The best way to get out the door is to leave the house promptly, get dressed, skip breakfast, and beeline for the train. Once I am at Grand Central, I can find a few minutes to find a small bite and be on my way. Grand Central Market offers an impressive array of local offerings from different vendors, from fresh fish to flowers, cheeses, and more. One such morning, and to my utter delight, I stumbled upon Bien Cuit’s Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookie, a small but satisfying bite. Upon my first taste, I was dazzled by how delectable it was. It reminded me of when one smells a perfume with its top, middle, and base notes and how aromas contribute to our sense of taste. The cookie was delicious, and I tasted the chocolate, coffee, salt, and sugar and savored each flavor separately and all in one bite. I never tasted anything quite like it before. Fittingly so, Bien Cuit means well done in French. They are in the Grand Central Market and have two other locations in Brooklyn.
I have been back subsequent times to Bien Cuit to try the Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookie, and it continues to be a hit. I will not indulge in buying it every time I take a trip to New York. I am afraid it will lose its thrill if I do. One recent morning, I decided to make them myself. The recipe is available on their website, and additional recipes inspired by this cookie are online via an internet search.
Bien Cuit’s Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies
475 ml Buckwheat Flour.
75 ml Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.
350 ml Brown Sugar.
200 ml Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature.
300 ml Chocolate Chips.
15 ml Baking Powder.
5 ml Espresso or Strong Coffee Grounds at Room Temperature.
Powder Sugar for Sprinkling.
Sea Salt Bien Cuit (suggests sea salt from Maldon).
I check to see if I have all the ingredients before I cook and buy whatever I do not already have on hand. It is helpful to arrange all the ingredients in advance, as the French call it mise en place. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In an electric stand mixer, mix the brown sugar with butter. Separately mix the dry ingredients, buckwheat flour, cocoa, and baking powder. I keep the baking powder away from the powdered sugar. Slowly whisk in the dry mixture into the mixture of well-blended brown sugar and butter, and add the chocolate chips and coffee grounds. Dust a marble pastry board with buckwheat flour and shape the mixture into a twenty-five centimeters log. Cut into twelve pieces. Sprinkle with salt and dust with powdered sugar. Bake for six minutes, turn over the cookies, and bake for another six minutes. Gingerly transfer baked cookies to a wire rack after they have cooled a little bit. The dough will last up to five days in the refrigerator, and the cookies can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers for two days.
One challenge I encountered was giving myself enough time to make the cookies. It may be helpful to silence text notifications. The house smelled delicious. Making these cookies inspired me to buy doilies. I lined a domed cake stand and little dessert plates for my presentation. I skipped making dinner and suggested my husband pick up a pizza. The best part of making cookies is sharing them with friends and family. The flavor is intense, and eating more than one in a day might be too many. I speak from experience on the occasion of making these cookies. I paired the cookie with a cup of fruit-flavored black tea. One friend crumbled her cookie on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which sounded sweetly decadent. Whether you buy these cookies or make them yourself, I am sure they will delight chocolate lovers and one’s sweet tooth.