I’m always experimenting with gluten-free flours and grains, and amaranth is my latest love – an ancient, revered grain, it means ‘everlasting’ in Greek and was a staple food of the Aztecs where it was used in many religious practices.
The closest relative of quinoa, it contains even more protein than oats and is packed with Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B, Magnesium and Zinc. It’s cooked just like quinoa too (1 cup of amaranth to 3 cups of water) except the texture is a little nuttier as the seed is much smaller. You can eat it in soups, salads, in place of rice in savoury dishes – I’ve even come across amaranth ‘porridge’.
But what’s so great about these cookies in particular (apart from the fact that they are seriously scrummy) is that they are a great way of ticking off every dietary requirement in a simple, non-fuss, completely natural way.
They don’t require refined sugar, eggs, flour, or oil as the amaranth, cacao powder and almond butter combo binds and bakes perfectly!
Basically they are great for Vegans, celiacs, paleo dieters and lactose-intolerant people too – and you know me, any homemade bake that’s also positively GOOD for you has got my vote! :)
(makes about 16 small cookies)
· 1/3 raw pure smooth or crunchy almond butter (preferably palm and sugar oil-free)
· 1.5 cups amaranth (cooked and cooled*)
· 1/3 cacao powder
· 1 tbsp agave nectar
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 tsp baking powder
· 1/3 cup dark choc chips (dairy-free, at least 70% cacao solids)
1. Cook and cool the amaranth. If you have extra then definitely save this for salads or curries (or freeze for another time).
2. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
3. Take a flat baking tray and put some baking parchment paper on top (this is important as it will stop the cookies sticking to the tray).
4. Combine the amaranth, almond butter, vanilla and agave nectar in a bowl and stir until well combined.
5. Place the cacao powder and baking powder in another bowl and mix together, and then add these dry ingredients to the wet mix stirring very well.
6. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until fully combined.
7. Next place the mixture in tablespoon-sized amounts on the baking tray – making sure you don’t place them too close together – and flatten out with the back of a spoon. The dough will be pretty sticky but don’t worry, the cookies will turn out perfectly :)
8. Bake in the oven on a middle shelf for 15-17 minutes. Once the tops look crisp remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5-7 minutes before devouring!
N.B. these will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days and can also be frozen.
*To cook amaranth: using the ratio of 1 cup of amaranth to 3 cups of water, place this in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 mins on a low heat until the water has all absorbed.