There has been quite a bit of buzz lately about the new baking book Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. As soon as I heard about the book I bought a copy, I knew it would be right up my alley. I was right.
Good to the Grain is all about baking with whole grains, and each chapter is devoted to a different one; whole wheat, barley, amaranth, quinoa and more. Though I eat a variety of grains on a regular basis, I have barely dabbled with their flours in baking. I've been wanting to incorporate new flours into my baking for some time, but was unsure of how to begin - they all have different textures and flavors and I only have so much time for experimentation!
When flipping through the book for the first time, one of the recipes that immediately jumped out at me was these cookies. I love quinoa. My boys and I eat in on a nearly daily basis. Did you know that it is a complete protein? One of the many things that makes it a regular in my home.
I had no idea what to expect from these cookies. They use not only quinoa flour, but quinoa flakes, plus a hefty 2 teaspoons of nutmeg. Unusual, to say the least.
They came out of the oven much being more attractive than I had anticipated; a crackled top, slightly crispy edges, soft on the inside, flecked all over with the white quinoa flakes. The quinoa flavor is much more subtle than I had hoped - it was rather overpowered by the nutmeg. If I made these again, I would definitely tone the nutmeg down. If you're not sure about your feelings on quinoa, however, you may want to leave the nutmeg as is. I suspect it helps ease people in to the flavor of quinoa which some find to be an acquired taste.
I really enjoyed these cookies, and was surprised at how effortlessly the quinoa fit in. Though I did hope the flavor would be a little more outstanding, though it was there, and very tasty. I used palm sugar as my sweetener, which was a lovely complement to the quinoa and nutmeg. I found them to be a tad on the salty side - which is not something I ever say, I love salty - so you may want to use 1/2 teaspoon less. It just occurred to me that these would also be fantastic as thumbprints, filled with jam or even a nut butter - I'll have to try them that way with some of my remaining dough.
*** Update *** I tasted a cookie on its second day and the nutmeg had mellowed considerably. If you're going to serve the cookies immediately, I would still recommend using a little less nutmeg, but if you think they'll be around a couple of days you may want to leave it as is.
adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups palm sugar
2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole oats
1 cup quinoa flakes + 3/4 cup for rolling
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and mix on low until just blended, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about a minute after each addition. Stir in molasses and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix on low until flour is barely combined. Add oats and one cup of quinoa flakes mixing until just combined. Don't be concerned if the dough seems crumbly, it will come together when you form it into balls. Place remaining 3/4 cup quinoa flakes in shallow bowl. Form dough into balls about 3 tablespoons in size and roll in flakes to cover them completely. Place balls in baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 5-18 minutes, until cookies have spread, cracked and are an even golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet.