When I decided to make a change in my life by making healthier choices, I had to unlearn so many of my old habits. One of the hardest things to do was to eat more. Yes, more. Back when I was heavier, skipping meals was something I gave myself props for. I would start my day with a large cup of Starbucks coffee with two shots of espresso, and that would set me up till about 4 pm. I wouldn’t get hungry and I used to be so happy about that! Dinner was my largest meal, and because I felt so good about skipping meals earlier in the day, generally I indulged myself with comfort foods at restaurants.
As I started to make a positive change in my eating habits, I learned about the importance of multiple small and healthy meals throughout the day – breakfast, pre-lunch snack, lunch, evening snack, dinner and then some almonds or walnuts before I went to bed. I learned that getting hungry was a good thing because it was my metabolism at work. My body was digesting the food I ate instead of storing it as fat.
I didn’t want to just be on a diet for a couple of months and find a way back to square one, I wanted to learn to be healthy for the rest of my life. I realized that meal planning was critical if I wanted to eat 6-7 meals a day! The key to eating healthy throughout the day is to keep healthy foods readily available. Trust me, when it was 6 pm and I had just came back from work, if the only thing available was a twinkie, that twinkie was going down! So I learned to make some healthy snacks that would satisfy my cravings.
As the holiday season is upon us, I am reminded of my past struggle in finding that balance between eating healthy and gorging on sweets. It is possible to balance these two, it just requires a little bit of advance planning and some creative recipes! One of my favorite recipes is quinoa and almond flour cookies with chai spiced almond butter.
Almond butter is high in omega 3s and low in saturated fats. You can also find the unsweetened kind at the store, so you don’t have to worry about empty calories. The warm chai spices take the creamy almond butter to the next level, perfect for a cold day! Quinoa flour is high in protein and low in carbs compared to other refined flours or even whole wheat flour. Quinoa has almost twice as many fibers as other grains and is loaded with iron and lysine. Lysine is essential for tissue growth and repair, so if you do weight training at the gym, these cookies are for you!
These cookies will make a perfect gift for the holidays, or consider them as your gift to yourself, and pass on those white flour or sugar cookies! Enjoy these cookies with your loved ones, without feeling guilty!
Healthy Cookies – Quinoa and Almond Flour Cookies with Chai Spiced Almond Butter
(makes 24 – 2 inches cookies)
1 cup quinoa flour
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Heat oven to 300°F.
Put quinoa flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor and mix well. Add honey and ghee, process until crumbly dough forms. I suggest that instead of adding all of the 1/2 cup honey at once you add the honey slowly, making sure the dough is crumbly. Depending on the viscosity of the brand of honey you use, you might not have to use 1/2 cup of honey. The key is to make sure your dough is crumbly, so you can cut cookies out of the dough. Shape the dough in a ball and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Lay parchment paper on the kitchen counter, put the dough in the middle and cover with another parchment paper on the top. Gently roll the dough in 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter make 2 inches circles and place them on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have about 20 to 24 cookies.
Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Let cookies cool completely. Store in air-tight container.
Chai-Spice Almond Butter
3/4 cup unsweetened creamy almond butter
4 tbsp honey
6 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
pinch of salt
Grind cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in spice grinder. Put almond butter and honey in a small sauce pan on very low heat and mix well. Add spice mix and salt. Let it cool at room temperature. To make cookie sandwich, spread chai spiced almond butter on one cookie with a butter knife. Press with another cookie. Store the cookies in a refrigerator.
This is really innovative. What an idea! I never knew that cookies could be so healthy, this is indeed a great idea for cookie lovers, like me. I am super excited to have it. cookies with chai…Yummm combination.
love your photography and creativity.
archana @ Feedingthefoodie says
unbelievable! these look soo good. I need to remind myself to eat healthier snacks too – although I don’t skip meals, I try to eat healthy, the 6 oclock witch hour is the end of me. I eat all the wrong things. Can you share more healthy snack ideas?
p.s those pics are just beautiful.
Absolutely fantastic treat which is guilt free.
The almond butter is simply fantastic, I could eat spoonfuls.
Aimee / Wallflower Girl says
These sound so amazing. The chai spiced almond butter – YUM! Definitely plan on trying these soon…
I am sure we can all eat those cookies without any guilt at all. Great healthy approach!
Pretty cookies! What a great combination of flavors and ingredients.
Gintare @Gourmantine says
First time visiting here, have to say really enjoyed reading your inspiring story.
Now, on the matter on food, these cookies are so original. Quinoa flour is something I’ve never cooked before and it’s always nice to have healthy cookie recipe on hand 🙂
I highly recommend you try quinoa flour. You will get hooked on it!
Hi Medha, Just discovered your site and am in love. Great job with the wondeful recipes. I want to try these cookies but I cant find quinoa in India let alone quinoa flour. Can you suggest an alternative I could use instead?
Satya, thank you for visiting! You can substitute quinoa flour with whole wheat flour without any problem. I also tried this recipe with coconut flour mixed with almond flour, but those cookies came out a bit dry. Hope you give it a shot, and let me know how it goes!
I checked your instagram, beautiful pictures! I bet you have your hands full with that little kido!
Beautiful clicks medha !! I really love all the flavors and spices in this cookies 🙂
I am bookmarking this to try 🙂
Thanks Sowmya! I like to think I am getting better as a photographer, but its still a hit or miss 🙂
Such healthy, delicious and pretty looking cookies! I am so intrigued by the almond butter…never tried it and I wonder if it can be made at home.
Yes, you can make almond butter at home in a food processor fitted with “S” shaped blade, it requires 20-30 minutes until oils have released. You will have to scrape down the sides as needed throughout the process. This is cheaper too!
Aleesha Banks says
I am so happy to find this . This are really simple and beautiful and nutritious too. I have will forward this too my family and friends.
How long can I store these in an airtight container?
I changed the recipe a bit because I can not figure out how to make quinoa flour and can’t buy it..
I used oat flour instead, also gives a nice moisture texture but I added about 25 grams of whole unsalted butter just in case.
Without the almond spiced butter, the cookies themselves can be stored for about 15-20 days. If you do use the almond butter, then you have to store in the fridge, because the butter will melt at room temperature making the cookies soggy. I am glad you made the cookies, and I will surely try your variation as well!
Bethany Speier says
6 cardamom pods
Can I use my already ground seasonings? And how many teaspoons of these ingredients does it equal?
Yes, you can use your ground seasonings or even store bought Chai Masala powder. I would recommend you start with 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp at a time, until you find the spice level you like! The spice combination I have used it just something I like personally; you can really have fun with the spice combination with this recipe!
These are gorgeous cookies! I’m saving these to make for presents, I know several people who will be totally in love with these. Thanks!
Pamela York says
These were AWESOME!!! So yummy, and so easy. Thank you for this wonderful recipe
Hi Medha, This is an awesome recipe. I made these cookies and they came out wonderful. I am wondering though if I can use Maple Syrup or Molasses instead of honey. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe.
Thanks Shalini, I am glad that you like the cookies! Yes, you can substitute maple syrup/molasses for honey in the recipe.
Pep's Free From Kitchen says
These are really wonderful, the texture is just perfect. I did take a lazy shortcut with the filling, but I followed the rest exactly and they came out perfect. I posted the recipe on my blog and linked back here, I hope that’s okay. Thanks for the cookies!