Cook | Baking for Pesach Think quinoa flour

Passover baking presents special challenges, especially if you want to branch out beyond matzah cake meal. One solution is quinoa flour, which gives baked goods a nutty, almost tahini-like taste. It is also a gluten-free source for protein, iron and fiber.

Several companies offer the flour, and the Pereg Natural Gourmet Food product is certified kosher for Pesach. You can also make your own from quinoa seeds. Check the Orthodox Union (OU) and Star-K websites for Passover-certified quinoa products, or a list of kosher-for-Passover brands at www.tinyurl.com/kosher-quinoa.

In addition to directions for making homemade quinoa flour, below are recipes for cookies and berry muffins. If you are making these recipes for Passover, please check that all ingredients are certified or suitable for use during the holiday. Baking ahead for Pesach? Both the muffins and cookies freeze well.

 

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from Pereg Gourmet)

Makes 18-20 cookies1 cup whole almonds

1 cup quinoa flour, plus more if needed

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder (kosher for Pesach)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbs. milk, plus more if needed

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place almonds in blender. Process until a fine powder. Mix in large bowl with flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, oil, vanilla and 1 1/2 Tbs. milk. Combine with dry ingredients. Mix with clean hands until dough forms. Add more milk if too dry or more flour if too sticky. Mix in chocolate chips. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake on middle rack about 14-16 minutes until cookie bottoms are golden and tops are becoming firm. Loosen cookie bottoms. Cool on baking sheets.

 

Quinoa Berry Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins2 cups quinoa flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder (kosher for Pesach)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

11/2 cup blackberries, raspberries or blueberries

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1/3 cup oil

1 tsp. vanillaPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12-hole cupcake tin with paper liners.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in berries until coated. In separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients, mixing with spoon until just combined. Fill cupcake liners.

Bake for about 20 minutes until tops spring back. Cool on rack.

 

Homemade Quinoa Flour

Makes 21/4 to 21/2 cups

Rinse 2 cups raw “white”quinoa seeds very well and drain thoroughly (see notes). Spread out on baking sheet for 2 hours or longer, stirring occasionally. Heat a dry, large, heavy skillet over high heat until hot. Lower heat to medium. Add quinoa. (Work in batches if necessary.) Adjust heat to avoid browning. Pan toast seeds, stirring often, until quinoa is dried and slightly darker, the seeds have a toasty aroma and there is a slight popping sound (about 5-7 minutes, but timing may vary). Place in bowl and cool completely.

Grind in 2 batches in blender. Strain or sift into a clean, dry bowl, putting larger pieces back into blender and grinding again. Once all the quinoa has been ground and sifted, place back in blender and regrind a second time until ground very fine. (It will be the texture of matzah cake meal, not true flour like the commercial products.)

Notes: Quinoa comes in several colors. This recipe uses the traditional light yellow or “white” variety. If toasting in batches, completely wipe out pan between each batch. Reheat pan and make sure it is dry before continuing.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. Faith blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.