Quinoa Cookie Remix

By far the most popular recipe on my blog is these Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies. It is the number one search term that drives people to my site and the most clicked on post of all time, by far.

Yesterday I was emailing with my friend Nicole and I mentioned that I wanted to try another version of the quinoa cookie. She’s in the process of writing a flourless baking cookbook so she is naturally interested in uninteresting topics like recipe development. Anyway, I like the original recipe, especially the dough before baking but I thought a mix of gluten-free oats, almond meal and quinoa might make for a tastier cookie.

Problem was, no quinoa! I know, how is that possible? What’s a blogger to do but strap on my Uggs, leash up the dog and walk down to Whole Foods. On our way, we took a little detour through the park where Eli ran around like crazy in the snow. This is when I realized I’d made my first, and likely not last, dumb California girl mistake. Uggs are not meant for snow! They are wonderful for cold, dry weather but once wet they absorb EVERYTHING. I literally felt like I was walking around in cold, wet sponges! So gross. It’s time to invest in a pair of waterproof boots.

Wet Uggs

And, yes I’m wearing leg warmers circa 1985 and yes that Whole Foods bag was about to rip into a pile of soggy paper. Love. Boston. Winter.

Once home and sufficiently dry I set about making the quinoa cookies when I realized I had no bananas! I was just at the store and didn’t think to pick them up, errr. Frustrated but not deterred I spotted some dates and thought I’d experiment. One experiment led to another and I now have four different flavors of quinoa cookies to share that are all banana free. Happy accident, but I know some people (like my sister) don’t like bananas. This cookie is for you.

Assorted Quinoa Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

3/4 cup cooked quinoa (using this cooking method)

3/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free oats (1/2 cup processed into flour, 1/2 cup left whole)

2 tablespoon hulled hemp seed, optional

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water

3/4 cup pitted dates (~12 dates)

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

For Ginger Lemon Quinoa Cookies: 

Add 1.5 tsp ginger powder and 2 tbsp lemon zest

For Spicy Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies:

Add 2 tbsp chocolate chips and 1 tsp cayenne pepper

For Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Cookies:

Add 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp raisins

For Coconut Macadamia Nut Quinoa Cookies:

Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut and 2 tbsp crushed macadamia nuts

————-

Preheat oven to 350.

Process oats in a food processor until fine flour forms.

Add processed oats, quinoa, almond meal, hemp seed and remaining unprocessed oats to a bowl.

quinoa cookie dry ingredients

In food processor place dates and almond milk. Process until smooth. Add to dry ingredients.

dry ingredients and date paste

Next add flaxseed meal, vanilla, maple syrup, salt and additional mix-ins. Stir until well combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.quinoa cookie dough

Create balls and drop onto a sprayed cookie sheet. I used a little more than a tablespoon for each cookie.

oatmeal raisin and ginger lemon quinoa cookies oatmeal raisin quinoa cookies quinoa cookies

Bake for 20 minutes. The pictures above are all of the Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Cookies but I particularly liked to Ginger Lemon flavor.

Warning: these can be very addicting.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Twinkly Little Lights and Gluten-Free Banana Bread Muffins

I’m not a baker. I don’t like the exactness it requires or that you often can’t fix mistakes until it’s too late. Dough tastes different from the final product and you can’t just go back and add more salt or a touch more sugar if you find what you’ve made lacking in some way.

However, sometimes it’s good to expand your culinary limits. That’s how this delicious treat came about.

This weekend I started altering a recipe for banana bread that I ran across online. On Sunday I bought bananas, which I usually put straight into the freezer, but I’ve now spent the last four days patiently waiting for them to start browning. Today they were brown, enough.

These muffins are soft on the inside and a little crispy on the outside. They are not overwhelmingly banana-y and have a nuttiness from the almond and flaxseed meal. I was going to make a traditional banana bread loaf but I like built-in portion control with my baked goods. It’s so easy to keep nibbling off a loaf making excuses that you haven’t eaten that much but you can’t deny eating a muffin, or two, and a half. So, muffins it was.

Whichever way you decide to make these, I think you should. Maybe for your family when they come to visit in a few weeks? Or as a special treat to yourself as we get closer to the holidays and things get crazy?

Take a little time, put away the oatmeal packets, the Clif Bars and the Starbucks’ pastries. They get the rest of the year.

Make a cup of tea or coffee and savor these little treats. Savor December. It’ll be gone before you know it and we’ll be wondering why we didn’t take 15 minutes in this busy time to revel in a bit of stillness, some twinkly little lights, the smell of cinnamon and allspice baking in the oven. I can’t imagine you’ll regret any of these things. It may even bring about some unexpected joy in this hurried month.

I’ll step off the holiday soapbox now.

Banana Bread Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

3/4 cup oat flour

1/2 cup almond meal

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup pitted dates (this is ~12 dates)

1/2 cup +1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ripe bananas

————

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you’re making your own oat flour, place oats in a food processor until ground.

Before:

Gluten-free oats

After:

Ground Oat Flour

It’s okay if there’s a little texture.

Place oat flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, allspice, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix.

Process dates with almond milk and vanilla until smooth.

Before:

dates, vanilla, almond milk

After:

date paste

This took about 2 minutes of running the processor consistently, however, I was using my small hand-held one.

Add date mixture to your dry ingredients.

I didn’t want to dirty another bowl for mashing my bananas so I processed my bananas as well. About a minute should do. The bananas were a little creamier than if I had just mashed them but they still turned out fine.

Add bananas to dates and dry ingredients. Stir.

banana puree and muffin batter

Grease a cupcake tin. I used a little cooking spray. Put batter in tin. These didn’t rise much so fill each tin almost to the top.

gluten-free banana bread muffins

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes cleanly out.

gluten-free banana bread muffinsgluten-free banana bread muffins

I may be eating my second one topped with a little bit of peanut butter as I type. 🙂

Enjoy your little slice of the holidays!