Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

After many, many failed attempts, 2012 was the year I finally learned to enjoy quinoa. It’s not my new favorite food by any stretch of the imagination but I incorporate it in our diet regularly now without a feeling of dread washing over me. I even found a dish that Shane will eat with me too in this buffalo chicken quinoa mac and cheese! That’s a major victory :)

It was only a matter of time before I found a way to incorporate quinoa into a dessert, right? Besides, if we throw something healthy like quinoa into a cookie it transforms it into a totally acceptable breakfast food. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

I’ll admit I was somewhat skeptical about this recipe when I first came across it, but it had good reviews so I figured it was worth a shot. And as you’ve probably gathered by now, I was pleasantly surprised! You really don’t notice the quinoa in these cookies at all – they’re more like an oatmeal cookie than anything else. The dough doesn’t spread much in the oven so they have a puffy appearance and when you bite into one you discover a soft, tender interior. I loved the way the flavor of the almond extract came through, I can’t get enough of that stuff. I couldn’t leave well enough alone so I did drizzle a chocolate glaze over some of the cookies. It’s definitely not necessary but it did make them feel just a little more special and holiday-worthy in my book.

Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies
cookies from Bon Appetit, January 2012 (via Epicurious), glaze from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Cookies
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, at room temperature
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, both sugars, and the honey on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs and both extracts, beating until the the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the quinoa, oats, dried cranberries, and almonds.

Using a small cookie scoop (mine measures about 1 1/2 inches across), portion the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 12 minutes (rotating the baking sheets halfway through) or until the cookies are light golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool for a few minutes then remove the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with all of the dough.

To make the glaze: Add the chocolate chips and shortening to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on full power, then stir. Microwave in 15 second bursts at 50% power, stirring in between each, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the glaze set before serving.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies