Quinoa Cookies

My first experience with Quinoa wasn’t a very good one. A few years back, I was on a health kick and decided to try out some different, healthier grains. I picked up a booklet from Whole Foods, and discovered quinoa. Quinoa is a protein packed grain that is cooked like rice and can be used similar to it. I cooked the quinoa and hated it. It had no flavor and I didn’t like the texture, after that I never cooked it again. Looking back, I could have added more flavors and I probably overcooked it. Last week I was at a friend’s house and I was looking through an issue of Bon Appetit and there it was, a recipe for Quinoa Cookies. I couldn’t believe my eyes actually. I thought to myself there is no way this can be remotely good. I always thought of Quinoa in a savory way. I read through the recipe and I loved the ingredients and it looked very easy to execute. I snapped a photo of the page with my Iphone, ready to try quinoa again. The best way to tell if a cookie is REALLY good is to try it on children, especially if foreign ingredients are involved. Luckily I work with children so I enlisted the help of two 6 years olds and the 3 of us made the cookies. I set up the ingredients and had the kids put in all the pre-measured ingredients. (I did the eggs) The first batch came out and the kids couldn’t wait to try the first bite, and for that matter I also couldn’t wait to try them. I counted to 3 and we all took our first bite. It was soft, almost cake like, sweet and the bits of cranberry added a perfect balance to the sweetness. The quinoa and oatmeal worked well together and the toasted almonds gave this cookie a roundness that brought all the ingredients together. Even though I thought it was an amazing cooking, the real test: the 6 year olds. I looked over and they were each finished with their cookie, I asked them what they thought, and they were both asking for another one. They loved it, it was a hit! This cookie is great holiday cookie, party cookie, cookie swap cookie, anytime cookie and great alternative to the run of the mill chocolate chip or sugar cookie. A MUST try. I no longer have an aversion to the grain the Incans once called “Gold of the Incans”, I will be trying it with savory, as well as in baking applications. Stay tuned!

Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder and baking soda each
1/2 cup of butter–room temp
1/4 sugar, light brown sugar and honey each
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup of cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup of oats
1 cup of dried cranberries (i used craisns)
1/2 cup of silvered almonds (toasted)

Whisk together baking soda,baking powder, salt and flour, set aside,

Beat the butter, both sugars, honey in a bowl until fluffy. (about 3 minutes)

Add eggs and extracts, beat 2 more minutes

Beat in flour mixture in 2 or 3 additions

Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries and almonds

Bake on a sheet lined with parchment and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes!