The Lazy, Healthy Yet Still Yummy Banana-Walnut Quinoa Cookie That My Toddler And I Cannot Stop Eating.

Disclaimer, guys: I’m not a baker. I divide people into tribes of bakers and cooks (and I suppose eaters?) I fall into the cook camp. I like the process of futzing with flavor as something bubbles up in a pot or adjusting a recipe on the fly. But I’ve come around to baking since having a kid, because it’s nice to just dump everything into a big bowl, stir it around, dump it on a cookie sheet, stick it in an oven and — voila! FOOD!

This is currently the one baked good I do well. It’s that wonderful paradox: a (fairly) healthy-ish cookie. It’s made with whole wheat instead of refined flour, and it’s also chock full of quinoa, which packs a lot of protein that you don’t get in most cookies. And walnuts are full of omega-3s, which is ace.

But the best thing of all is that my little one likes these a lot — I give him half of one with most of his meals as a treat and he reliably eats it up. And I eat them, too. And my sweetheart says he eats them during long training rides on his bike for the protein. (I think he’s just being nice.) So everyone in my little family wins!

This recipe is adapted from the book Real Baby Food by Jenna Helwig. It originally called for coconut oil (which I’m sure made it even healthier) instead of butter — and there were more steps, like melting the oil, combining it with this and that, etc.

But honestly, I don’t have a lot of time for that, so I changed it up a little, adjusted the process and hoped for the best. I know I wussed out with using butter instead of coconut oil, but as a mama, my motto is “Within Reason,” and right now, melting coconut oil with a small toddler just isn’t doable.

So what I do is mix all the dry ingredients together during the day, get a stick of butter out to warm to room temperature and then after my little Budge goes down for the night, I mix the wet ingredients, add them to the dry, mix it all together and bake. If you want the original recipe, I suggest getting Real Baby Food — it’s generally got some good recipes for littles of all ages. (And even adults!)

So far, this works for me — it yields a very ‘bread-y’ cookie. It helps, though, to use a very, very ripe banana and room-temperature butter — the latter is very important to make this work.

Enjoy! And if any of you other seasoned, more experienced bakers have tips or recipes, please share them in the comments!

Banana-Walnut Quinoa Cookies

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick of room temperature butter, but into small cubes
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup very finely chopped walnuts
1 very ripe banana, diced

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (If I’m “pregaming”, I do step 2 first and then pre-heat the oven.)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar. Set aside.

3. Add diced butter to the dry mix and stir A LOT until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

4. Beat together eggs and vanilla in a bowl, then add the dry mix. Mix until just combined. Stir in quinoa, walnuts and banana.

5. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto he prepared sheet about an inch apart. Flatten each cookie slightly — with your palm, since it’s pretty sticky — and bake 10-12 minutes. (I actually check at about the 8-9 minute mark to see if the bottoms are burning, but I have a pretty “hot” oven.)

This makes about 30 cookies, and they store nicely in an airtight container and room temperature for a good while!

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