quinoa & cacao nib cookies

Quinoa & Cacao Nib Cookies | anydayjen.com

Chocolate chip cookies might be my favorite cookie. It’s so simple but if you find the right recipe it can be so delicious. I happened to have found that perfect recipe. This recipe has been my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for over a year now.  It has a secret ingredient – cornstarch. I can’t tell you how invaluable this ingredient is in baking (and ice cream making, and so on).  It gives these cookies that are otherwise a pretty basic recipe a little boost. They have the perfect light crisp on the outside and that undercooked soft feel on the inside (without being undercooked!)

Needless to say when a batch of these are made they do not last very long.

Quinoa & Cacao Nib Cookies | anydayjen.com

That being said I really wanted to try to make this cookie into a more healthy version. I’ve had a box of quinoa flour in my baking cabinet that I’ve been itching to use to replace regular flour for some time now. My biggest concern, though, is the lack of gluten. Would this cause the cookies not to rise? Would they just bake and flatten into those flat, textureless greasy blobs that sometimes are passed as chocolate chip cookies? Would they have a weird texture? (probably not since I’m using flour and not actual quinoa). I had some questions floating around in my mind. I did a little research – many people saying you need to include regular all-purpose flour with the quinoa flour… but I decided to give it a try anyway.

This recipe is a work in progress. I’d love to eventually get these to be gluten-free (have to check the other ingredients) and healthier but still soft, chewy and delicious. So far it appears the changes have been a success. I took a plate of these to work and used my co-workers as baking-test-dummies (I don’t think they minded. Cookies are like gold).  The plate was empty before noon.  I received several compliments on how good they were so at that point I knew I could share this recipe and feel good about it.  Going forward to make it even healthier I plan to change the remaining ingredients to all organic and gluten-free. What I’ve done so far is a pretty good start.

Some sources claim you need to adjust baking time and other wet ingredients but this recipe holds up well as is with the replacements.

These are the items I replaced

  • quinoa four replaces all-purpose flour
  • cacao nibs replace chocolate chips
  • pink Himalayan salt replaces regular table salt
  • organic butter over non-organic butter
  • Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract instead of imitation vanilla extract

Ingredients I’d like to replace eventually:
I’d like to try to incorporate Turbinado sugar and/or Dark Muscavado Sugar to replace white cane sugar and regular brown sugar. I’d also like to look into using better brands in cornstarch, and baking soda. As for the egg, perhaps use cage free organic brown eggs instead of regular white eggs.

Quinoa & Cacao Nib Cookies | anydayjen.com

Quinoa & Cacao Nib Cookies

recipe adapted from Food Network Canada (my adaptations bolded and italicized)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Quinoa flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 oz. Cacao Sweet Nibs (less seems to be more with these. I used half a four oz bag per batch)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350° F
  2. Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Take time to scrape batter down your bowl so it all mixes well. Carefully add in egg and vanilla, blend well.
  3. While mixing together butter, sugars, egg and vanilla mixture combine in a separate bowl the quinoa flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Blend together (I use a whisk).
  4. Carefully add the quinoa flour mixture to the butter mixture spoonfuls at a time. I add about half the mixture and let it mix well before adding the remaining mixture.
  5. Remove bowl from mixer and carefully stir in the cacao nibs.
  6. Using two spoons I scoop out a bit of the dough with one spoon and molding the dough between the two spoons a couple of times it creates a nice round shape. I prefer to use this method as it creates nice, plump cookies. You can also use a cookie scoop, roll them in a ball in your hand or just scoop out with a spoon and let it be wild and textured.
  7. Drop the dough into a greased / parchment covered/ Silpat sheet on baking pan and bake for about 8-10 minutes.

That’s all there is to it! I hope you enjoy my adaptation. If you are into chocolate chip cookies and not interested in my changes I highly recommend this recipe. I’ve never had a bad result.


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