Today was hot. The usual cool air accompanying our mountain surroundings was noticeably absent.
And the trail was so parched it created a fine powder of dust that surrounded my feet as I dragged them up the slope.

Several things ran through my mind.

First, I need to drink more. Water, that is. The spontaneous happy hour followed by sushi (and wine) followed by a stop at our favorite watering hole didn’t put me in the best of conditions this morning.

Second, I need to stop eating fluff. The fun-size Snickers bars and a handful of granola just aren’t cutting my energy needs for breakfast (as embarrassing as it, I eat fun-size Snickers like it’s my job. Those and pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream).

And finally, why do I keep choosing trails with serious inclines?

Then I remind myself of where I am.

It’s views like these, coupled with the strong scent of pine, vivid dots of wildflowers, and the kind of calm that only comes with open, quiet space.

I wish that I would have had these cookies in my backpack. Cookies are tricky little buggers at altitude, and I like them thick and chewy, so I decided to bake the scoops of dough in an over-sized muffin tin. The result? Perfect little rounds of energy.

The cookies are studded with plump cooked quinoa, chewy oats, and protein-rich chia seeds. Quinoa is a great super food and I eat it by the cups in the summer when I am playing outdoors all day. It’s actually a seed, not a grain, but it is great for your body.

The quinoa plant produces a sap that is found on uncooked quinoa, so it’s important to give your seeds a good rinse before you start cooking them. Otherwise you will be left with a soapy tasting cookie.

Feel free to add other dried fruits, nuts, and maybe even a few goodies (chocolate chunks, candied ginger, etc.) to your cookies. These are also fantastic with a generous swoop of nut butter, jam, or honey.

Also, remind me why I thought it would be a good idea to crank up the oven and roast some beets when I got home? Hello hotbox.

How to bake this high altitude recipe:

Quinoa Oat Cookies (adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson)

Quinoa Oat Cookies
Recipe type: High Altitude
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon + ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spray an over-size muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixture all at once, and mix until just incorporated.
  6. Stir in the cooked quinoa, oats, and chia seeds.
  7. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of dough into each muffin well and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown on the edges and puffed.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans and then use a small offset spatula to lift the cookies out of the muffin tin.
  9. Makes about 12 cookies.

Note: this recipe is adjusted for high altitude baking. To make this at sea level, increase baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon, and add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

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  • 18 Jun, 2012
  • 18 Jun, 2012

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