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.

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 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • 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.

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

    A.
  • 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?

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

    Jessica
  • 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!

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

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

    Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks
  • 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

    Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes
  • These look so yummy!! I can't wait to try!

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

    Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams
  • Oh, quinoa clouds! These look excellent, Heidi! I'm so glad you like the cutter!

    nikole
  • 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.

    Marianne
  • 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

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

    Erin Blogavich
  • 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:)

    The French
  • 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.

    KateP
  • 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 :)

    Erica
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