Monday, January 30, 2012

Quinoa Cookies {RECIPE}

Today's post is written by our 12-year-old homeschooled contributor, Angelica.

Cookies are a great way to introduce your kids to Quinoa (keen-wa). This is how my mom first served up this little grain, smart.  With a tall glass of cold milk, my sister and I quickly gobbled them up! As we enjoyed our cookies my mom began to share the history of quinoa and its healthy benefits.   

Quinoa contains more high quality protein than any other grain. It is called a complete protein which means it provides your body with all nine essential amino acids.
Helps to increase tissue growth and repair. A great source of magnesium and iron.
Quinoa is gluten free.

The Incas considered Quinoa a sacred food.  A staple in their diets, these warriors turned to quinoa to fuel their bodies for war, hunting season, and when the tribe relocated their families. Known as the “mother seed” quinoa had been cultivated in the Andean mountains for 5,000 years.  In an effort to control the Incas, the Spanish Conquerors destroyed every field where quinoa was grown. The Conquerors ended the cultivation of quinoa by sentencing death to anyone who tried to grow quinoa. 

Quinoa was not grown until the 1980’s in Colorado. In the hopes of giving back a bit of the Inca history, two Americans began to cultivate quinoa.  These Americans realized that quinoa grew well in drought.  Soon quinoa would be considered a super crop, helping the United Nations feed the hungry. It was also served by NASA on long flights in space.    

New Moon Quinoa Coconut Cookies
January 9, 2009
1/2 c natural peanut butter
1/3 c raw agave nectar
2 T freshly ground flax seeds
2 c cooked quinoa, completely cooled (Make sure this is not too wet or the cookies won’t hold together. It should be on the dry side and fluffy. If yours is pretty saucy, make sure to cook it a bit longer to evaporate the excess water.)
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 c raw cacao nibs (Optional) I did not use them
Preheat the oven on its lowest setting. Mine was 170 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. The parchment paper is non-negotiable. (FYI, you could easily pull this off in a dehydrator or solar oven, if you have either.)
In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, agave, and ground flax seeds. Mix in the quinoa, oats, and coconut. Fold in the cacao nibs if you’re using them. Your mixture should be pretty clumpy, as shown below. If your quinoa was a bit on the wet side when you started, it may not want to hold together at this point. If that’s the case, toss in a bit more flax and peanut butter and see if that helps.
Next, scoop tablespoons of delicious quinoa goop onto the parchment paper and flatten them with your fingers. Lick your fingers off. Continue the process until you’ve used up or surreptitiously managed to eat the entire batch. Make sure the cookies have decent structural integrity, as they’ll dehydrate slightly in the oven and small weak spots will become bigger. In other words, make sure they’re pretty tightly formed.
Put them in the oven and let them set up for about an hour. (my cookies took 1 ½ )
Make sure to store leftover cookies in the fridge and consume them within a week.

Angelica is a 12-year-old homeschooler with dreams of becoming a pastry chef.
Addicted to comics, food network, and carnival rides, Angelica loves taking over her mom's kitchen. She is currently working on perfecting her pie crust while her family reaps the benefits. You can find her sharing her baking skills over at Sweet Life.


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