A few months ago, I decided to go off gluten. While I haven’t been entirely faithful, I am still attempting to avoid it. And like almost everything else, I am very bad at “all or nothing” eating. I’m trying to eat less meat, but I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian because beans have nothing on a seared medallion of filet mignon. I’m trying to eat less dairy, but how the hell is one supposed to give up heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella? And I’m trying to eliminate sugar, but you can’t make caramel without it, so there goes that. And alcohol? Oh yes, one can give up alcohol and live many more years. But as the old joke goes: you don’t actually live longer, it just feels like it.
I guess I’m not cut out for strict regimens of anything. I start feeling sorry for myself.
So I have a pantry and refrigerator full of supplies based on my abandoned “regimens du jour.” Here’s the brown rice flour. There’s the coconut milk. Back there (in the way back) is the goat’s milk yogurt.
Oh, and there’s the quinoa flour! Aside from being a kick-ass Scrabble word, what might one do with quinoa flour? I did some reading and found out that it can generally be substituted 1:1 for normal wheat flour in baking (except if you are making a yeast-leavened product, because it has no gluten). It intrigued me so I decided to figure out a cookie recipe that would utilize all quinoa flour and be very allergy friendly (especially for kids).
As usual, I cut back on the sugar tremendously, so this recipe is not overly sweet. It is another one of those cookie recipes that is more health food than dessert. But you could easily add more sugar if you wanted to. And the end result is pretty darn good — and a great allergy-friendly treat because it contains no wheat, no gluten, no dairy, and no nuts. It does have eggs, but I bet you could substitute each egg with 2 T water, 1 T oil, and 2 t baking powder (that’s the “egg” combo I used in baking when my daughter was allergic to eggs). If anyone with egg allergies tries this, let me know how it turns out. Also, I used cocoa nibs to keep the sugar down even more, but feel free to substitute with chocolate chips if you like.
One VERY interesting side note, however: I stored these cookies in our cookie jar and when I got some out for the kids today, the interiors of the cookies were green! I have seen pumpkin seeds create a green tinge in certain things, but this was really green. I am wondering if it was a reaction with the quinoa or the cocoa nibs. Green food coloring without the chemicals, perhaps! The ones stored in the freezer were fine, so if you don’t want greenish cookies, try that. The kids thought the green color was pretty funky, however. Any food scientists out there who could explain this one to me?
Quinoa Sunbutter Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 18-24 cookies
1 cup sunbutter (I used crunchy — and any other nut/soy nut butter would work)
1/4 cup honey
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup quinoa flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (or other nuts/seeds)
1/3 cup cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix sunbutter with honey in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.
2. Combine salt, baking soda, and quinoa flour. Stir into sunbutter mixture until just combined.
3. Stir pumpkin seeds and cocoa nibs into dough.
4. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork if you like. Bake for 7-8 minutes until just done.