Achieving the proper cookie texture is no mean feat, let me tell you. If you’ve ever left cookies in the oven for “just one minute more” in the hopes of realizing a crunchy crust, only to pull out little blackened pucks of despair, well, join the club, my friends. Finding the right balance between chewy and crunchy takes real finesse, and I’ve burnt more than my fair share of batches in the attempt. I’ve also made many cookies which resemble muffin tops more than anything else, which, while delicious in their own right, were not what I was going for. So when I set out to develop a cookie recipe that could perform that holy grail of a balancing act, it was with more than a little apprehension.
We should all face our fears more often.
These cookies are a nice balance between hearty and sweet. I love a good trail mix cookie (soon to come, don’t you worry), but sometimes I miss the really soft, chewy cookies of my childhood. I wanted to reach a compromise between nutritional value and traditional texture, and the secret lies in quinoa flour.
Quinoa is not only a complete protein, but high in fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A, and a whole whack of other nutrients. As we’re all probably a little sick of hearing, it truly is a nutritional powerhouse. But what you might not know is that it adds a fantastically nutty flavour to baked goods. After I pulled these cookies out of the oven, I almost had to refer back to my ingredients list to make sure I hadn’t snuck in some peanut butter last minute and then somehow forgotten about it – no joke! For a tutorial on how to make your own quinoa flour (it literally takes 5 minutes), just scroll to the bottom of the page.
Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Coconut and Walnuts (makes approximately 18 cookies)
~ Gluten free, dairy free ~
- 1 + 1/3 cup gluten free oat flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup toasted quinoa flour (see notes below)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar, or sucanat, brown sugar, etc.
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oat, almond, and quinoa flour. Add in the sugar, cacao, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Whisk in the coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until you no longer see dry flour, and then fold in the white chocolate and walnuts.
- Using a small ice-cream scoop (I used a size 18/8), evenly scoop out the batter onto your baking sheets.
- Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes on the middle rack of your oven. The cookies should be brown on the bottom and slightly firm to the touch.
- Move cookies to a cooling rack and let cool for about 20 minutes. During this time the outer edges will become slightly crunchy, while the middle should remain soft.
The trick to using quinoa as a flour is pretty simple. You could, of course, go out and buy some quinoa flour, but it’s much more cost effective (and will probably taste better in the end) if you just grind it yourself. Simply measure out the amount of flour you want – if you need half a cup, use just under a half a cup of unground quinoa – and pour it into a frying pan. Heat the whole thing over medium heat for a couple of minutes until you start to hear a popping sound and take off the heat. It should be fairly fragrant at that point. It will continue cooking in the pan so pour into a bowl to let it cool off. Then just pour it into your coffee/spice grinder (I used my magic bullet) and blend for a few minutes. Cooking it in this way eliminates the bitter flavour sometimes associated with quinoa thanks to its outer coating of saponins.
When you’re done toasting the quinoa and waiting for it to cool, use the same pan to toast your walnuts to save time and energy.