Quinoa Cloud Cookies Recipe

Cookies made from toasted quinoa and wheat flours, flecked with chocolate shavings, rolled and stamped into cloud shapes.

Quinoa Cloud Cookies

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.

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


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.

christianne madona

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.

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

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!

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.


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?

Lori Ventola

My, you were certainly in a metaphorical mood writing this post! Very amusing, thanks for the smiles.


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)


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.

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

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


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


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..


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

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.


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!


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.

Any thoughts on making them gluten free?


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!!


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