Friday, March 15, 2013

Interesting Experiment: Quinoa Cookies

Lately I've been on the lookout for snacks for Sonny D that have a lot of protein because his daycare provides an afternoon snack that is all simple carbohydrates like pretzels and crackers, which isn't balanced.  To keep feeling full, you need some protein as well. No wonder kids come home tired and hungry, all the simple carbs in their snacks turn into sugars and they burn them off immediately. We need more time before dinner is ready at night, so we send along a protein-filled snack to go along with the daycare snack. 

I had been looking at recipes for peanut butter granola bars and it seemed a lot were coming up on the blogs I read in Google Reader, but then I remembered quinoa.  Quinoa is full of protein!  So I tracked down a recipe I had bookmarked for quinoa cookies. 

Cooked quinoa


366 Days of Pinterest Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

This recipe took me two days to make, the first day I made quinoa in the rice cooker but I had a cold and didn't feel like pulling the rest of the ingredients together, so I stopped there. I had intended to flavor the quinoa in some way, like adding cinnamon to the water, but I ended up forgetting, so it was just plain quinoa.
The second day I mixed up the dough and gave it my own personal touch by adding cinnamon and vanilla.  I also skipped the chocolate chips and instead added 2 eggs to hold the dough together.

Additional ingredients


Makes 54 cookies
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 eggs 
For a chocolate version, you can do two things:
  1. Add 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder. 
  2. Remove the 2 eggs and add 1/2 cup chocolate chips, but in that case you need to melt the chocolate so it helps hold the dough together.  
raw cookie dough, waiting to bake
The original recipe listed 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, but I've found that I don't like it in cookies much.  It would also be nice to replace it with 1/2 cup of additional ingredients for other flavor variations.  Dried fruit would be good, maybe cranberries or something.  If you added some chopped nuts or seeds, you could make it into a trail mix cookie.


Mixing up dough
Make the quinoa in the same manner that you make rice, it's 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water.  It's best if you can infuse the quinoa with some flavor at this point, so pick something that will go with your other flavors. 

Once the quinoa is done, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put the quinoa into a large bowl and mix in all of the rest of the ingredients.  Scoop them into balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Since they won't spread, feel free to put the dough bits close to each other.  I flattened the tops of the cookies to make them less like a half-circle. 

Rack of cookies cooling
Bake for 20 minutes.


These aren't the best, but that's completely my fault.  I didn't measure the honey carefully (well, didn't measure it at all, just spooned some in), so they're not really as sweet as I would prefer.  Next time I would taste the dough before I add the raw egg to ensure it was to my liking.  And I would definitely flavor the quinoa when I cook it to add some depth, maybe cinnamon or vanilla/almond extract. But aside from that, there's something that I love about them, so I continue to eat them.

The cookies are a little bit chewy, but still soft.  They're similar to the bananakies (banana oat cookies) I made recently.   For the ingredients I used, they're only about 35 calories per cookie, which is quite low.  Makes me feel better when I eat them three at a time. *grin*

The peanut butter flavor isn't very pronounced, it's only a hint at peanut butter. If I'm making these mainly for myself, I think in the future I would skip the peanut butter and come up with another flavor combo like apple-cinnamon, using applesauce instead of peanut butter.


Have you tried quinoa before? Typically it's served as grain, like as substitute for rice or couscous.   It's not actually a grain, each little granule is actually a seed from a plant related to the tumbleweed.  Since it's a seed, that's why it's a source of protein. I've served it as a side dish, in little "meatball" style appetizers, and I love it in roasted veggie bowls.  This was my first experiment using it for dessert.  

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