Cherry-Almond Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
Cookies for breakfast??? Wheeeee!!!!
Well, sort of. Read on. (But first, another cookie shot.)
It all started with Costco....
I have a love-hate relationship with Costco. Like everyone, I love being able to buy certain items in bulk, like say, 52 pounds of dog food, 42 rolls of Charmin, or necessities like pillow-sized bags of Stacy's Pita Chips (if you've tried Stacy's Pita Chips, then you will concur that they are indeed a necessity.)
A trip to Costco is an event in my house, since all of our locations are inconveniently located across town in different directions. It's as if the VP of Costco Business Development used my house as a starting point on a map, stuck in a thumbtack, and drew three straight lines to the opposite edges of the Las Vegas Valley, thinking "Aha--perfect! These will be our store sites." (Cue evil laugh.)
Before each trip to Costco, it's imperative that I take thorough inventory of my pantry and household supplies and make a list of what I need. IM-PER-A-TIVE. I need a list, and I need a plan. Said list serves as my personal suit of armor, ensuring that I will purchase only, well mostly only, the items that I need and not get swept up in the cleverly marketed displays and constant supply of new items that make Costco Costco.
I hate it when I forget my list.
10 pounds of Jolly Ranchers!! I loooooooove Jolly Ranchers! Well, all but the grape ones, but that's just one flavor. Sold!
Eric apparently doesn't like grape Jolly Ranchers either. We now have 2 pounds of them, if anyone wants 'em.
Another inevitable result of leaving my list at home is that I toss some item into my cart because I am pretty certain that it was on my list or that it would have been on my list if I had made one......only to go home and discover that we haven't even made a dent in the supply that we already have. Happens every. single. time.
Enter world's largest bag of quinoa.
Now, I don't recall ever purchasing a big bag 'o quinoa from Costco in the past, but apparently I had. I don't know, perhaps I blacked out due to Costco eureka! euphoria, which is why I had forgotten that there was already one of these huge, unopened bags sitting in my pantry. And now I have two. Lucky me.
Don't get me wrong. I loooooooove my quinoa like I loooooooooove my non-grape Jolly Ranchers. In the past few years, quinoa has become the Emma Stone of the ancient grains. The "it" girl, if you will. You can see it in all of the hottest food publications and included in recipes from the trendiest chefs. My prediction is that within the next 6 months, it will also be on an InStyle cover, land a Revlon contract and start dating Ryan Gosling. That's how HOT quinoa is right now.
So, I should have no lack of resources in which I can find recipe inspiration for my two lifetime supplies of quinoa, right? Right. Today's recipe was inspired by an idea that I have seen a few times on-line and, most recently, by one that I read in Bon Appetit magazine: Quinoa Breakfast Cookies.
I'm sorry, did you say "breakfast cookies?" Why yes, yes I did.
Sorry, that picture came out a little dark.
Now, before you get too excited, these are not your Keebler Elves' cookies. So if your mind is saying "Chips Ahoy" when you take a bite, then your taste buds might be a tad bit disappointed. Make no mistake, (I think) that they are still delicious, but they are also pretty healthy and full of whole grains, dried fruit, and nuts -- not chocolate chips, white sugar, and monoglutopseudohydrotransbrominal. The texture is fairly cakey, and they are definitely hearty. These cookies are also not overly sweet.......which is why I couldn't leave well enough alone, and I drizzled them with a little glaze. Just a little glaze, mind you. A little glaze never hurt anyone.
1 quinoa recipe down......463 to go.
Here are some extra tips for making these deceptively diet-friendly cookies:
- I decided to use dried cherries in these cookies because I think that they have a more concentrated flavor than cranberries, and cherry pairs nicely with almond. Plus, dried cherries were on sale at the grocery store :) Feel free to substitute dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots, or a combination of dried fruit.
- I made the simple glaze for the cookies by whisking together confectioner's sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. You could do the same with orange juice, or you could make an almond glaze by whisking confectioner's sugar, water, and a bit of almond extract.
- To make your own variation on these cookies, try adding some shredded coconut, orange or lemon zest, banana puree instead of applesauce, or pure maple syrup in place of the honey.
Cherry-Almond Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
(Inspired by Bon Appetit magazine)
Makes about 28 cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the honey and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the applesauce and both extracts. On low speed, mix in the quinoa until well incorporated.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing on low speed until just combined. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and stir in the dried cherries and almonds.
Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop the dough in generous 2-tablespoon portions onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart. Flatten the mounds of dough with the bottom of a glass or with your moistened palm (otherwise the dough might stick to your hand.)
Bake the cookies until they are golden around the edges and on the bottoms, 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If desired, drizzle the cookies with a simple glaze (either confectioner's sugar mixed with lemon juice or confectioner's sugar mixed with water and almond extract.)
Approximately 140 calories and 6 grams of fat per cookie.