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)
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spray an over-size muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixture all at once, and mix until just incorporated.
- Stir in the cooked quinoa, oats, and chia seeds.
- Scoop about 3 tablespoons of dough into each muffin well and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown on the edges and puffed.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans and then use a small offset spatula to lift the cookies out of the muffin tin.
- 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.