Experimenting with making gluten free cupcakes these past few weeks have given way to making cookies.  I have a basic vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe that I make all the time and wanted to change it up a little with some quinoa flour I spotted in the store a few weeks ago.  Cookies seemed like and even better idea when it actually started sleeting (for real) here in New York and a good reason to put an alternative heat source to use.    Quinoa flour is a gluten and grain free flour that has the highest protein count of any flour.  It is also a complete protein and has the added boon of being easy to digest.

Inspired by a cookie I watched Amy Chaplin (a fantastic vegan/vegetarian NYC chef) http://amychaplin.com/ at an equally fabulous foundation launch in NYC this past May that provides NYC schoolchildren access to natural food presentations/demonstrations/food tastings and fitness http://welcometobubble.org/.  Amy’s cookies used quinoa flour (which I had yet to use) delicately spiced with flecks of orange zest and bittersweet chunks of chocolate.  I have created a new version using some candied ginger and my house is smelling spicy and rich with an orange zing.

Oatmeal Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies with Candied Ginger and Orange Zest
makes approximately 40 cookies

Preheat oven to 350F.  I use a silicone baking sheet on top of my cookie sheet (which is really a jelly roll pan),  Alternatively, you can line your baking sheet with some parchment paper.

1 c. rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 c. oat bran (alternatively, you can use rolled oats)
1 c. quinoa flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour (whole wheat/whole wheat pastry flour/spelt flour also works well)
1 tblsp. finely chopped candied ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4-1 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 c. coconut oil (you could also use olive oil or softened butter)
1/2 c. sucanet/organic sugar (look for those that are still mineral rich)
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
zest of 1 large Navel or Minneola orange (or any orange for that matter)
1 tblsp. pure vanilla extract
1-10 oz. bag best quality dark chocolate chips

In a bowl combine all dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Use your hands to mix in candied ginger so it is not in one big clump.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand up mixer or in a large bowl using a hand held mixer, cream softened coconut oil and sugar together until fluffy.  Add in maple syrup, applesauce, orange zest, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.  Then, add the flour a third at a time, wiping down sides of mixer, and mixing until flour and oatmeal mixture is fully incorporated.  Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.  Scoop by the generous tablespoon and form into a ball.  Flatten slightly on cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-16 minutes.  Remove to drying rack and cool.

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