Chocolate, Pistachio and Cardamom Quinoa Cookies

October 2, 2012

Quinoa is a grain loaded with meaning. Not only is quinoa nutritious to boot, often tagged as a “superfood”, but it also reminds me of my work with quinoa farmers in Ecuador. However, most relevant to any eater, perhaps even above nutrition, is this grain’s impeccable ability to be transformed into anything you want! Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Savory or sweet. Disguise it entirely or celebrate it with distinction. If you don’t believe me, just search my recipe archive for “quinoa.” And so, when my friend Wendy reported that she was baking quinoa cookies, I quickly plugged into the web for a recipe that would match my pantry supplies. Here is a gorgeous variation of Bon Appetit’s Almond Cranberry Quinoa Cookies.

Emma Frisch Chocolate, Pistachio and Cardamom Quinoa Cookies Ingredient

Note: Though I wanted these cookies to be crunchy and chewy, they were slightly fluffier, like a muffin. The quinoa does lend a slight crunch in its own right, but not to the overall texture. My friend Shanti (Shantilly Picnic) helped me experiment with a second batch. Despite altering certain quantities and ingredients for a crisper finish, the cookies still turned out fluffy. So we tried a batch in a muffin tin, which resulted in adorable muffins that were marvelous toasted with butter! It appears that quinoa is a fluffy baking substance, though more thoughts and experiments are always encouraged!

Emma Frisch Chocolate, Pistachio and Cardamom Quinoa Cookies Ingredient


Chocolate, Pistachio and Cardamom Quinoa Cookies

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  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 25 cookies


  • Whole wheat flour – 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Kosher salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Baking powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cardamom – 3/4 teaspoon, ground
  • Butter – 1/2 cup salted, whipped butter, room temperature
  • Organic cane sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Light brown sugar – 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • Honey – 1/4 cup
  • Eggs – 3 medium farm-fresh eggs
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Quinoa – 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • Oats – 1 cup rolled oats
  • Pistachios – 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • Chocolate chips – 1/2 cup


  1. As defined by the Culinary Institute of America, mise en place is a French phrase that means “‘everything in place’, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.” Begin by setting out your ingredients by the quantities specified. This will make the baking process easier. As you use your ingredients put them away, cleaning up as you go!
  2. Preheat the oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them with butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom.
  4. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer or a fork to beat together the butter, both sugars and honey until the texture becomes light and fluffy.
  5. Add one egg at a time and beat it into the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating for about 2 minutes until the mixture is paler in color and fluffy.
  6. Using a large spoon or spatula, fold in about 1/2 cup of the flour mixture at a time until it is fully incorporated with the butter, sugar, honey and eggs.
  7. Stir in the quinoa, oats, pistachios and chocolate chips. (At this point you can store the batter in a ziplock or airtight container in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake, allow the batter to thaw and follow the remaining steps in this recipe).
  8. Spoon 2-tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart. (Or, spoon 2 tablespoons into your muffin tin.)
  9. Bake for 15 minutes until browned at the edges, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom at 7 minutes.
  10. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack or on a separate plate. Store in an airtight container until they’ve been gobbled up by your family or roommates. Store in the freezer in ziplock for up to 1 month; thaw and toast to enjoy.


Allergens: dairy, eggs

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    1. Honey isn’t toxic when cooked. Most of the beneficial properties are eliminated when honey is cooked/baked at high temperatures, rendering it simply sugar. But since it is a less processed sweetener than cane sugar, I like to use it and I also like the flavor! You can substitute for maple syrup.

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