cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Quinoa Cookies

I made cookies today. One: because I couldn't think of anything else, two: because I was all out of eggs, and three: because I wanted to make a post on this blog because it's my second day with it. I am impatient. Get used to it. So, egg-less quinoa cookies were the result. Most pronounce said grain as "keen-whaa"...but what is it? Quinoa is a Latin American grain with a centuries-long baking history. The Incas referred to the grain as"chisaya mama" meaning, "mother of all grains". Technically quinoa is not a grain, it's a seed, and its appearance is very flighty, it forms a kind of curl and is very light. During Latin American Spanish conquest quinoa was passed off as "Indian food" and considered un-Catholic. So much those silly conquistadors knew, Quinoa happens to be one of the few non-grains that can be cooked like a grain, is gluten free, and has more protein and amino acids than other grain flours. It can be used as a seed, a flake, or a ground flour. Quinoa has slowly made its way north and east across the Atlantic, but the cheep and easily cultivated wheat, soy, and corn pretty much rule the world, so quinoa is slow in finding it's way into western pantries.

The quinoa in these cookies is accompanied by rice flour, bs, raw maple syrup, peanut butter, brown sucre, butter, vanilla, and a pinch of nutmeg. Fairly simple, but! Gluten free. I try to do as much gluten free baking and cooking as possible as I have a mild allergy to it. Most humans do. You probably are to some degree, it varies for everyone. There are so many other grains to use besides wheat that it shouldn't be a problem, but hidden glutens lurk everywhere, and no commercial cereal bar, cookie, cracker, or sweet would ever be caught dead with an ingredient other than all purpose flour. The point is flour can be substituted. I made a tiramisu for my little sister's seventeenth birthday a week ago, and made a gluten free sponge with white rice and fava bean flour, no one was the wiser.

Other possible way to get in touch with your quinoa side are to make waffles, hot cereal, or biscuits. Quinoa flakes can be cooked exactly like oatmeal or cream of rice, all you need to do is don it with flavors such as rasins, cinamon, sugar, or flavored coffee syrups. Don't underestimate flavored coffee syrups, they may one day save your life. I mean it.

Quinoa cookies: 1 cup rice flour, 3/4 cup quinoa flakes, 1 stick butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking soda.

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