Quinoa Cloud Cookies

Quinoa Cloud Cookies Recipe


It's spring here. I know because I'm standing in my kitchen, looking out onto the porch, watching a robin gather bundles of dried grass (from a neglected planter) to use as bedding in her nest. I was feeling bad about the state of my patio garden, but this makes me feel a bit better. I'm watching the robin, the sun is out, and I have a batch of cloud-shaped cookies in the oven. Even better, I'm excited to finally put my hand-crafted cookie cutter from Herriott Grace to use.

Quinoa Cloud Cookies

The inspiration for these cookies came from a quinoa shortbread recipe in a new cookbook focused exclusively on cooking with quinoa - Quinoa 365. Whitecap sent me a copy, rightly thinking I'd enjoy the ideas and recipes in it (the photography is quite nice as well). The quinoa shortbread recipe caught my attention, many people use rice flour in their shortbread to achieve a more crunchy shortbread texture, so making a shortbread with quinoa flour made sense to me. Both are gluten-free flours that crisp up nicely in certain preparations. So, although I made some pretty significant changes to my version of the cookies (mainly in relation to technique, measurements, ingredients I had on hand), they were certainly inspired by Patricia and Carolyn's version.

Quinoa Cloud Cookies

One of the things that makes these cookies great is toasting the flours ahead of time. It's one of those steps that takes a bit of time, but is well worth it. The resulting cookies are buttery, nutty, and rich. They are good after cooling and settling a bit, but best the next day (after sitting on the counter uncovered over-night). The flavor and texture seem to come together after spending the night together.

I think it may be obvious, but because of the shade of the quinoa flour and the flecks of chocolate shavings, these clouds are of the stormy variety. And, I know not many of you have cloud-shaped cookie cutters - you can certainly cut these into whatever shapes you like.

- More Quinoa Recipes -
- More Chocolate Recipes -
- More Cookie Recipes -

Quinoa Cloud Cookies

I know some people like to toast flours in the oven, but I find toasting them in a large skillet gives me more control, resulting in even browning, less occurrences of burning. Also, avoid big chunks of chocolate, it makes it hard to roll out the dough into uniform thickness.

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g quinoa flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 145 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / 8 oz / 225g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g sifted fine-grain natural cane sugar (or light brown sugar)
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g shaved chocolate
3 tablespoons large-grain sugar flakes (or turbinado)

Combine the flours in your largest skillet over medium heat. Toast the flour stirring constantly, until they get slightly golden and fragrant. If the flour takes on an acrid smell you've likely gone too far, or the pan is too hot. Remove from heat, sift the flours into a bowl, add the salt, then place in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes or so to facilitate cooling.

Cream the butter either by hand or using an electric mixer. Add the sugar, then cream some more, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way. Stir in the flour until it is just incorporated, then stir in the chocolate shavings.

Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a 1/2-inch thick patty, wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill - roughly 45 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 350F / 180C, placing racks in the center. And line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper, and set aside.

After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured counter-top 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes, sprinkle with the big sugar grains, and place at least 1 1/2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies are nicely golden. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Makes 12+ large cloud cookies. Your yield will vary depending on your cutter shape.

Prep time: 60 min - Cook time: 15 min

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Comments


I haven't tried toasting baking flour before. What a fabulous idea! And the clouds are perfect. I would love a sun cookie shape to go with it. And maybe some birds :)

May 14, 2010
 

KateP

Hi Heidi, quinoa flour has quite an assertive flavour, how does toasting alter that flavour - does it soften the taste at all? Do you generally toast quinoa flour when you use it - I recently made the quinoa cookies from 'Good to the Grain', and while I liked them, there is a distinct flavour that goes with using quinoa flour.....but your cookies look gorgeous....

HS: Hi Kate, I feel like the grassy, green notes I taste in untoasted quinoa are minimized here. The quinoa "edge" for lack of a better word, is minimized. If you're unsure, you might try less a less quinoa-centric ratio of quinoa flour to apf flour here. Also it is quite remarkable how the flavor/texture of these cookies evolves from the time they come out of the oven through the day after...really interesting.

May 14, 2010
 

Well, I think you've done it. You've found a way to get me to eat quinoa...with my good buddies chocolate and sugar in tow. Not that I don't want to love it. Have a feeling this may open the door to the quinoa queen within...thanks:)

May 14, 2010
 

Yehoo!! Love the idea of quinoa and chocolate! Will be trying these asap! THanks!

May 14, 2010
 

I never heard about toasting the flour before :O I'll try next time :)

The recipe sounds delicious...and I want cookie cutter like this. Badly! The resulting cookies look so cute :D

May 14, 2010
 

There was an article in our local paper on Quinoa 365, including a couple recipes. My dad pointed it out to me, which led me to their website, and resulted in me ordering the cookbook (which I'm still waiting on). Good to hear someone else has given it their seal of approval. The cookies look delicious.

May 14, 2010
 

wow, what a creative idea for cookies!

May 15, 2010
 

lovely presentation.. thanks for the recipe.. :)

May 15, 2010
 

Oh, quinoa clouds! These look excellent, Heidi! I'm so glad you like the cutter!

May 15, 2010
 

These cookies are as whimsical as they are appetizing. My daughter would love these.
Have a wonderful weekend!

May 15, 2010
 

These look so yummy!! I can't wait to try!

May 15, 2010
 

Never heard of the toasting of the flours - but what a great theory. And I LOVE the cloud cookie cutters! So whimsical. Have a great weekend! xxSAS

May 15, 2010
 

The cookies are too adorable!

May 15, 2010
 

That cookie cutter is absolutely precious! I love this idea -- the whole ingredients you can fashion cookies out of are positively endless.

May 15, 2010
 

Those look great! I had my eye on that cute cookie cutter too. I hope she makes/sells more of them!

May 15, 2010
 

Kate

Would grinding quinoa in a food processor get it roughly the right consistency (closer to fine, if you will :))?

Hi Kate: to be honest, I've never tried it in a food processor or blender. I would say, you'd want to get it powder fine, however you attempt to grind it. There's a chance it would need some sifting. If you give it a go, and it works out, report back please!

May 15, 2010
 

Yes - I have the same question as Kate! There's a big bag of quinoa in the pantry, but no quinoa flour.

May 15, 2010
 

Darien

Heidi! Thanks always for the amazing recipes....you have saved countless holidays and work nights wondering what to have!!

Quick question...would whole wheat pastry flour turn these into hockey pucks?

May 15, 2010
 

they're too cute!
can't wait to put my hand on some quinoa flour

May 15, 2010
 

Susanfo

OMG. Over the last year I have become the biggest fan of quinoa. It really is the PERFECT food. But to make a cookie from quinoa? I never would have thought of it. I can't wait to make these. What a great way to hide nutrition in my kids' diet. Better than pureed vegetables in a brownie.

May 15, 2010
 

Lovemyveggies

These look fantastic!
One question though:
Do you think they might work with coconut oil (rather than butter) to make them vegan? I adore quinoa and have found some similar quinoa based cookies at the store, but I will definitely have to give these a try since homemade is always better!!

May 15, 2010
 

Erika

Any thoughts on making them gluten free?

May 15, 2010
 

I love quinoa and maybe this is a stupid question, but doesn't all that butter and brown sugar cancel out the benefits from the quinoa?

HS: Hi Lisa, At the end of the day, they're cookies - treats :) Once in a while type things. I like exploring the flavor profiles of various flours/sugars, so that is part of what interests me here. I also like the idea of working whole foods into as many meals and snacks and treats as possible throughout your days, weeks, months. It adds up. Personally, I'd rather have one of these than a processed candy bar. Another fun cookie to check out if you are looking for less sugar/butter/etc. are these or these. There are others deeper in the archives as well. Hope this helps.

May 15, 2010
 

NMskies

RE: Kate - making quinoa flour with the grain in the food processor.

I tried this and it does not work. The grain just whirs around in the processor and does not break down at all.

A trip to the market will be in order!

May 15, 2010
 

Stephanie

Has anyone had luck at making their own quinoa flour? I was thinking I could use my Vita-Mix to grind down the quinoa already in my pantry.

May 15, 2010
 

Great idea to use quinoa flour in cookies. And the clouds are so pretty. Quinoa originally comes from Peru, but Mexico, being the traditional country that it is, never adopted this grain -- I have never seen it here. Another item on my list of goodies to bring back when I travel north.

Kathleen

May 15, 2010
 

Mariea

I tried to grind up oatmeal into oat flour to use in cookies and the food processor just made small chunks of oats...I had great luck in a coffee grinder, but you can only do a little at a time. You could try the Quinoa this way, I can do 1/2 a cup at a time, so not too bad of a task. A vita mix might do the trick tho..

May 15, 2010
 

Barbara

I use a coffe grinder to make my quina flour. Works great.

May 15, 2010
 

Terri

Can you substitute rice flour for the wheat flour? And, what other flours might you substitute for the wheat?

May 15, 2010
 

Great recipe I'm going to make it today, to have these nice cookies for my week end.

Love your blog.

Sandra

May 15, 2010
 

These are so cute! I love the cloud cookie cutter. What a perfect cookie for a rainy day.

I've never baked with toasted flour but it sounds like it would add a lot of flavor. I'll have to try it someday. And even though there is still AP flour in these cookies I like the idea of at least reducing the gluten content. The butter is also a little lower right?

I have gotten away from healthy cooking in my travels and I love reading your blog and thinking of when I can get home to my own kitchen and start eating better. So thank you for the inspiration.

Cheers.

May 15, 2010
 

Jane

This is interesting- I've also not ever toasted flour before. I bake gluten free but this would be an easy adaptation. (many thanx also for the quinoa cookbook info - and the other recent whole grain baking book info.. I tend to use books like this for resource info, adapting to GF - your book too :-D)

May 15, 2010
 

Donneek

My, you were certainly in a metaphorical mood writing this post!

Very amusing, thanks for the smiles.

May 15, 2010
 

Lori Ventola

I have some quinoa sitting around because I tried it and didn't like the flavor -- but I think I'd like this recipe much better. Can I make it into flour somehow, maybe in a food processor?

May 15, 2010
 

Donneek

FYI I have made cookie cutters in different shapes using a clean tuna can ring and a pair of needle nosed pliers. I used a normal can opener on one side and one of those that removes the ring and leaves a sharp edge on the other. I've had success making a heart and a star, a cloud would be easy to make.

May 15, 2010
 

Lovemyveggies and Erika -- planning to make it with Bob's Red Mill AP Mix (GF) and a coconut oil/Earth balance blend. I'll let you know how it turns out!

May 15, 2010
 

I use my coffe grinder to make my quina flour. Works great.

May 15, 2010
 

Heidi, great post! I love that you toasted the flours! I do the same thing when I make my peanut butter cookie recipe; toasting the flours lends a rich, buttery flavor to the cookies, which is always appreciated.


May 15, 2010
 

christianne madona

Just wondering if I can use quinoa flakes by grinding them in lieu of flour?
Any idea of what else I can use the flakes for as I don't care for the cereal they make?

HS: that might work christianne, you might try using the quinoa flakes in ways you use oatmeal - in cookies, muffins, ground up in crepe batter, etc.

May 15, 2010
 

Eileen

I had some meyer lemons on hand so I used lemon juice and zest for flavor in place of chocolate. Delicious -- thanks Heidi!

May 15, 2010
 

these look delicious! i would have never thought to use quinoa flour in a cookie

for those who asked where to find it, i've seen it in health food stores with all of the other flours and i'm pretty sure bob's red mill brand has one as well

May 15, 2010
 

sara

these sound fantastic -

one question - has anyone ever tried using quinoa cereal for the flour - it's like cream of wheat sort of?

i'm an SF transplant to new zealand and our access to ingredients is extremely limited... any advice would be appreciated!
cheers from down under...

HS: I wonder if you threw those in the vita-mix or blender if you'd have more luck making a flour? Good suggestion. As far as alternatives go, I might play around with oat flour, or rye flour, or even millet flour? And you might decrease the ratio a bit if you're worried about the alternative flour working...

May 15, 2010
 

betty

love those cloud like cookies but we ve no quinoa flour over here what to replace it pls.

May 15, 2010
 

toasting the flours is a brilliant step - what a gorgeous use for that cutter.

May 15, 2010
 

toasting the flours is a brilliant step - what a gorgeous use for that cutter.

May 15, 2010
 

Wendy

To Sara; re NZ ingredients.
I'm not sure where in NZ you are, I'm in Wellington and can find most things at our local organic shop or even the asian market the other day had quite a good variety of interesting flours! Commonsense organics in Wellington and the big organic shop in Auckland (which I can't think of the name of) both do mail order too I think.

Heidi, another great recipe - this site is awesome, and my 'go to' when I come home from the shop with yet another interesting ingredient with no idea how to use it!

May 15, 2010
 

Great post !!!
I love quinoa in this recipe.

May 15, 2010
 

These look amazing! I wish I had a cloud cookie cutter too!

May 15, 2010
 

These look fabulous! Thank you so much for giving us new ways to use quinoa. I LOVE this grain and use it in plenty of soups, salads and breakfast bowls, but I've never branched out much further than that. Between this and your Quinoa Skillet Bread, I'm totally inspired to take my quinoa love to the next level!

May 15, 2010
 

Great looking cookies. I have never cooked with quinoa. There are so many different grains out there why do we constrain ourselves to wheat. I love your work.

May 15, 2010
 

delicious!!! wuauu!

May 15, 2010
 

What beautiful cookies; such a unique idea using quinoa!

May 16, 2010
 

I love this cutter! It's so cute. The cookies look very tastey.

May 16, 2010
 

The cookie cutter is beautiful! I've never used quinoa flour before, but I love how the nuttiness of these really shows through in the color.

May 16, 2010
 

Anonymous

The following sentence in your post made me sit up and pay extra close attention:

"The resulting cookies are buttery, nutty, and rich."

A trio of deliciousness, how could you go wrong? I'm going to make these with a combo of GF flours to replace the AP flour. I'm sure it'll be a cinch to make these.

To the early commenter asking about the strong taste of the quinoa - my experience baking gluten free is that when you use quinoa flour in combination with chocolate, the chocolate seems to downplay the quinoa. Otherwise, the quinoa tends to be a strong voice in the final result.

Can't wait to try these!

Ellen
www.Iamglutenfree.blogspot.com

May 16, 2010
 

The following sentence in your post made me sit up and pay extra close attention:

"The resulting cookies are buttery, nutty, and rich."

A trio of deliciousness, how could you go wrong? I'm going to make these with a combo of GF flours to replace the AP flour. I'm sure it'll be a cinch to make these.

To the early commenter asking about the strong taste of the quinoa - my experience baking gluten free is that when you use quinoa flour in combination with chocolate, the chocolate seems to downplay the quinoa. Otherwise, the quinoa tends to be a strong voice in the final result.

Can't wait to try these!

Ellen
www.Iamglutenfree.blogspot.com

May 16, 2010
 

muffin

did you grind the flour yourself?

i have some quinoa in the house, but not as flour...do you know the best way to make it, if possible, sans grinding wheels?

lovely cookies!

May 16, 2010
 

princesscamille

loved the cookies in my castle they were so good!

HS: Cookies in a castle! What could be better!?

May 16, 2010
 

Amy

Where o Where can I find quinoa flour?

May 16, 2010
 

Wow, yum! For those looking for quinoa flour, Bob's Red Mill sells some. I've found it at Whole Foods and other markets like that. I am with Ellen, I am so going to sub gluten-free flours for the AP flour and make a totally gluten-free version.

May 16, 2010
 

Dana

I made these this afternoon and they are DELICIOUS! I used light brown sugar in the batter and turbinado on top but I would like to try these with the large grain sugar flakes for some added crunch. My five year old also gave them a thumbs up as he enjoyed a warm cookie. Thanks Heidi for taking the time to adapt this recipe from Quinoa 365! I look forward to checking out that cookbook.

May 16, 2010
 

My three favourite things! Cookies, quinoa and fun food!

May 16, 2010
 

These cookies look so cute. I love the cloud shapes!

May 16, 2010
 

These cookies look wonderful! I love the clouds - adorable! And I have never used quinoa flour, but an excited to try!

May 16, 2010
 

Anne

am trying to wrap my brain around the way to work with alternate flours, so this article helps.
I have read through and seen no response about the gluten free option, except to say that you have encouraged other flours like millet,etc.
I wonder what your experience has been--cookies don't really need to agglutinate, but sometimes they do...Have you found a good substitute for wheat flour?

May 16, 2010
 

These look amazing, and I LOVE the cloud cookie cutter. I signed up to Harriott Grace's mailing list.
I have a question; how long can you keep whole grain flours stored in a cool dark spot outside of the fridge?
Thanks for such an amazing blog. Your photography and food are so inspiring for this displaced health-foodie!

May 17, 2010
 

Ohmigosh, I adore quinoa! I can only imagine that the cookies are divine. Going to have to try this sometime!

May 17, 2010
 

Such adorable cookies! I need to buy a cloud cookie cutter.

May 17, 2010
 

So cute! And yummy-looking!

May 17, 2010
 

This looks great, I'm going to try it. Thanks!

May 17, 2010
 

I love quinoa everything these days, and these look delicious! I imagine you could fake the clouds by using a flower like cookie cutter and then cut 1/2 off to mimic it.

May 17, 2010
 

I opened this post because of nice title and pictures, which my daughter would love. Yes, theoretically we have spring here, too, but this year our French spring resembles rather late Eastern European autumn (except for green trees). In my part of the country it rains and rains and there is a risk of flood....It is cold, it rains quite a lot, we wear warm sweaters and socks. Your cloud cookies seem to be perfect for this kind of weather.

May 17, 2010
 

I love quinoa, but have never tried quinoa flour so far. A good hint to use it in my kitchen (and maybe to order those handmade cookie cutters!)

May 17, 2010
 

Love quinoa but have never thought of using it in cookies! Looks delicious!

May 17, 2010
 

sarah

Thank you! Thank you! You have saved the day once again! Just made these for a quick after soccer game treat for my gluten/dairy free kiddos and their teams! Substituted rice and tapioca flour for the all purpose mix, earth balance margarine for the butter. . and they worked like a charm- disappearing faster than you could say quinoa cloud cookies!

May 17, 2010
 

these look so cute

May 17, 2010
 

Gluten-free flours are indeed magic in shortbread, and although most of my only experience is with cornstarch and rice flour, I'm eager to try some of the whole grain alternatives to leverage their incredible lightness, plus all the flavor they bring to the table. I love rye and oat flours in shortbread. You and Kim Boyce both have piqued my curiosity to explore further.

May 17, 2010
 

I've never heard of toasting flour. Very interesting. Those cookies look adorable and sound very inviting. :)

Jenn

May 17, 2010
 

Using quinoa as a flour in cookies is new to me - thanks for the recipe!

May 18, 2010
 

These are absolutely beautiful! And I love the idea of using quinoa for cookies; definitely something I want to try!

May 18, 2010
 

Jules

I really love quinoa and have been using the pre-washed version. Recently bought Bob's Red Mill quinoa flour and when I transferred it from the bag to a container, ending up inhaling a bit of flour dust. Within minutes, I had an extremely bitter taste in my mouth. It took me a while to figure it out, but I soon realized it was the quinoa and that the whole grain that it was ground from must not have been washed.
I kid you not, the bitter taste stayed in my mouth for 8 days. Every single thing I ate for the next 8 days was ruined by this awful bitter taste. I haven't touched that container of quinoa flour since. Has anyone else used this specific brand and had any similar problems? I think I'll try and grind some of the pre-washed grain and use that for baking.

May 18, 2010
 

may1girl

I was excited when I saw the name of the recipe -- thinking that it would be gluten-free. Not so excited now that I see there is wheat flour in the recipe.

May 18, 2010
 

PQBaggs

Jules--
Odd--this reminds me a recent post by David Lebovitz where he described a bitter taste left by pine nuts that lingered for days.

May 18, 2010
 

Yey! Thanks for the cookie cutter Heidi! I can't wait to try these for a GF friend and as it has been raining for the last week, they seem quite apropos. I am going to try a while cloud with blue "rain" sprinkles for the school shared lunch as well. Love the cookie cutter!

May 18, 2010
 

Patti

I made these yesterday -- substituted millet flour for the regular flour but otherwise made them just as indicated -- and they spread out into one flat mess that covered my entire cookie sheet! I thought maybe I could salvage them by cutting them into "bars" but no dice -- they didn't stick together at all and just crumbled away. I lifted the parchment paper up and it was like slightly oily sand pouring from a sandbox.

What did I do wrong? Did I miss putting some sort of gum (guar, etc?) into the mix to compensate for the lack of stick-to-it-ness of the gluten in the regular flour of the recipe?

They smelled so good and I was so sad to have to throw the sandy mess away...

May 19, 2010
 

I love the look of these cloud cutters! So unique and special!

May 19, 2010
 

siti

You have made my day! I am always curious whatelse one can do with quinoa. As cookie? I cannot wait to try your recipe.
Thanks for sharing.

May 19, 2010
 

Angela

I made these using quinoa and white spelt flour. I used a 1-1/2" round cookie cutter, and they spread to @ 2-1/2 or 3" dia. In other words, a nice size. They are delicious...buttery, deep and satisfying. Thank you for what will certainly be a repeat at our house.

May 20, 2010
 

phil

I am so homesick for my kitchen. No way to cook in my tent or anywhere else here in Kandahar and ten months to go on this deployment. Does anyone feel like sending me a small batch of these delicious cookie so I can share them with my buddies... !

May 21, 2010
 

tanya

I did not have any luck finding quinoa flour in any of my local groceries so i searched online. Bob's Red Mill does make a quinoa flour but the price was outrageous - and that was before shipping!
So i kept looking and found www.nutsonline.com which has organic quinoa flour for $6.99 a pound. I also bought millet flour, xantham gum and sweet rice flour - all for a very reasonable price. hope this helps some of you who are having trouble finding some of the ingredients Heidi uses!

May 23, 2010
 

the color looks great, looks gooood, yummy

May 23, 2010
 

Naedee

I really love this website. I have used some of these great recipes The Cloud cookies are excellent. Someone sent this website to me anonymously, and I'm glad they did. Thanks whoever! I think it was in my bulk mail.

May 24, 2010
 

Judy

We made these cookies using Jules GF flour (which has xanthan gum in it). We used our Batman-shaped cookie cutter, but were disappointed when the cookies flattened out in the oven. They ran together (and they were at least 2" apart), and ended up with little holes all over, like the lacy cookies you find at the bakery. The oven temp was fine, the dough had been refrigerated sufficiently before rolling out, and we don't know what else might have caused the problem. Any ideas? They tasted great, and we are even savoring the crumbs!

May 26, 2010