Tag Archives: whole grain

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan)

I am not a beer person.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can count the number of beers that I’ve actually enjoyed on one hand—beer is tolerable, but generally not enjoyable. Which is why I was bewildered to find myself fixating on Love and Olive Oil’s Chocolate Stout beer and finally asked my brewmaster friend if he’d be willing to try it.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since Trevor is amazing and always down for beer, he took me on a field trip to the grain store where we picked out pounds of grain, yeast, hops and lactose in a musty, farm-like warehouse. And then we spent three hours brewing the darn thing. Which I’m not even sure I’m going to like. Trevor accidentally had the wrong type of yeast on hand during the process, so we’re apparently making a Belgian chocolate stout instead of a normal stout, which he’s never done before. Whatever. I just want the chocolate part.

The brewing process is basically this:

a)      Boil a TON of grain in a lot of water and let it sit to extract sugars from the grain

b)      Take the sugar-water and boil it with other components to make the beer: hops (for bitterness and balance), flavoring (we used cocoa) and lactose (for sweetness–it’s a sugar that isn’t fermented by the yeast).

c)       Add yeast and let ferment.

It’s a process heavy on the heating and cooling and sitting and waiting. The beer is currently sitting pretty in a large vat and my fridge is currently occupied with pounds of spent grain, which is the term for the pounds of leftover boiled grain.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spent grain isn’t the prettiest thing: it kind of looks like horse food and smells vaguely barn-like when ground into flour. However, that grainy, prickly, soggy mass has had most of the starch boiled out and is essentially a pile of protein and fiber—woohoo! It can be used for animal feed, but you can also stuff it into tons of other things—granola, flour, bread, waffles, biscotti, muffins, etc.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

My first attempts to chip away at my mountain of spent grain included spent grain granola and spent grain flour, neither of which blew me away. The granola burned and flour smelled ultra-grainy. Then I attempted these cookies with several modifications and was disappointed—they were crumbly and prickly with the grain.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just when I was wringing my hands once again and considering trashing the rest of the grain, I tried the cookies again with different modifications, and they were AMAZING. Soft and peanut buttery with a yielding crumb and studded with chewy grains—completely addicting. It’s like the thickest oatmeal cookie you’ve ever had with a crazy grainy texture. (You could probably sub oats for the spent grain and add a few more tablespoons of milk. Or Omnomicon suggests that any cooked grain might work—I’m dreaming about these with cooked quinoa!) They were apparently a big hit with my roommate’s coworkers.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite version of these cookies is the following one as written. I hate to be an advocate for beer, but I really find spent grain fascinating and these cookies are definitely worth a try! Weekend mission: find spent grain.

Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: ~30 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 104

Fat per serving: 3.1g

Soft, cakey whole-grain cookies are studded with spent grain, the protein- and fiber-packed by-product of brewing beer.


  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (can sub vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used homemade walnut milk and it was FANTASTIC)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup spent grain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups spent grains (wet)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Combine the peanut butter, oil, sugar, milk and vanilla. Add the flour(s), baking soda and salt. Fold in the spent grain and chocolate chips.

Roll cookies into balls using about a tablespoon of dough per cookie. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350F for 12-14 minutes until the tops begin to brown and look dry. Cookies should feel firm-ish to the touch—slightly soft in the center, but not gooey.

These are absolutely the best the day they are made, but will keep in a sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge for a few days (up to a week in the fridge).


If you don't have spent grain flour on hand, sub more whole wheat flour or any type of flour (spelt, buckwheat, all-purpose, etc.)

I've tried subbing almond butter for the peanut butter and they just weren't as good. I've also tried subbing oat flour for the whole wheat flour and while they were again soft and cakey, I think they were more delicate, which made the grain stand out more.

Adapted from here


With that beer you just brewed, you might want to try your hand at this cake…

Momofuku Pretzel Cake: stout-soaked pretzel layers layered with burnt honey frosting, stout ganache and pretzel crumbs!

momofuku pretzel cake // The Pancake Princess

Vegan Jam Thumbprint Cookies

I am really excited about these cookies today but first: I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving with lots of good food and especially pie–possibly even a special post-Thanksgiving brunch 😉 Tell me about your Thanksgiving! I’d love to live vicariously through your eating adventures.

Onto the cookies.

Over Thanksgiving, I got lots of quality hang out time with my cousins, and I snuck in some cooking/baking time with the cleanest eater I know, who happens to be my darling nugget of a cousin, Simone. She subsists entirely on vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and beans. She lives in L.A. so I don’t get to see her very often. So one day when I arrived, it was like her tastebuds had revolted overnight. She simply just doesn’t eat any refined sugars, grains, bad fats or processed food because she doesn’t prefer them. This started when she was in middle school. I have tastebud envy. Someday.

Needless to say, she’s a great food influence. And when I saw her get excited about a baked good–COOKIES, no less, I knew something good was about to happen. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Simone, another of my cousins and I found ourselves at Whole Foods ransacking the place for dried figs when we discovered the rest of our family was already chowing down on Mexican food for dinner. At 5pm. So when we got back, we made our own vegan dinner of mac ‘n cheese (OMG delicious) followed by fig newtons straight from her favorite food blog.

A few mishaps and wrong turns occurred during the baking process, but when we took our first bites of the crunchy, seed-strewn exterior rich with coconut oil, wrapped around the luscious, tangy, jammy fig filling, our eyes went wide. We stood over the tray picking at the edges of the fig newtons for a good few minutes before slicing them up and serving them to the rest of the fam. Simone thought they were the best thing ever, pretty much, which is HIGH praise.

These thumbprint cookies drew inspiration from two things: (1) those wholesome, almost healthy, crunchy, almost short-bread-y cookies that I couldn’t stop thinking about and (2) Simone’s rave about a really good, natural jam from Trader Joe’s and my realization that I still had a giant jar of the sugary stuff left in my pantry. Clearly, the jam was destined for cookies.

These are just really great cookies, vegan or not. The bf couldn’t tell they were vegan and I don’t think anyone else would suspect it either. The chia seeds give the cookies a slightly crunchy, seedy texture and the coconut oil lends the coconut-perfumed dough a sandy texture and richness. Coconut oil was a premeditated purchase as soon as I got back, and I plan on many more baking projects with it. These are not only delicious, but they are like, the closest definition to wholesome that I’ve come with a cookie.

As Sarah B. of My New Roots would say, I’m wild about these.


I made these cookies two ways: one with oat flour, similar to the original recipe, and one with whole wheat flour and a hint of almond meal. The oat flour yielded a more tender, sandy consistency (below, right) compared to the lumpier, grainier whole wheat cookie (below, left).

Add 4 tablespoons of coconut oil to these and bake for 18-20 minutes and you will get lovely, sandy cookies. Halve the amount of oil and bake for a slightly shorter time, and you’ll get slightly chewier cookies. I liked the first version straight out of the oven better, but once cooled, I found myself reaching for the chunky, chewy cookies. Try both!

Alterations: These are really similar to the original fig newton base, but I upped the baking powder and baking soda to make them puffier. I didn’t have maple syrup, so I used honey (okay, a misstep out of vegan-land. Use maple syrup if you’re actually vegan.) Instead of steeping the chia in tea, I used almond milk.

Tip: set out the coconut oil well in advance so that it is room temperature and scoopable by the time you need to use it. Simone’s was rock hard, and it was quite the microwaving feat to get it into liquid form, which made the dough wetter than I think it should’ve been.

Vegan Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from Vanilla-Rooibos Fig Newtons

Yield: ~16 small cookies

1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons almond milk

1 cup rolled or instant oats, or oat flour (alternative: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour + 2 tablespoons almond meal)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
3-4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jam of your choice, for filling

Preheat oven to 350. Combine chia seeds and almond milk; set aside to set for at least five minutes.

Blend the oats in a food processor to make a rough flour. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pulse to mix. Next, add the coconut oil, chia mixture, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pulse to mix until the mixture forms a ball. Roll out one tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 14-20 minutes (less for a chewier cookie, more for a dryer, sandier cookie). Once you remove the cookies from the oven, take a spoon and gently press thumb-sized indentations into the center of each cookie while still warm. Once cool, fill each indentation with a dollop of jam.

These cookies will keep in an airtight container for about two days. They soften quickly, so if you plan to keep them for longer than 2 days (good luck with that!), store in the fridge.

Vegan Quinoa-Quinoa Cornbread + how to make quinoa flour

I have to apologize for the lack of a pancake post on Friday. Booo!
Sometimes life just gets in the way.

This weekend, life took on my alma mater’s (I have an alma mater?? I must be old.) 100th birthday celebration. As part of the Centennial celebration, the pinnacle was a mind-blowing sound and light show, or “spectacle,” (skip to 1:40 for the start of the cool stuff!). Standing in the middle of the dark quad with dozens of other students, alums and associates while lights spilled and flickered over the brick architecture, narrating Rice’s history in a series of images, music and snippets of spoken words made me feel like I was at Hogwarts. Serious magic, guys. It was hard to fathom all the incremental measurements, calculations, math and technology hurdles the creators would’ve had to overcome–not to mention handling the enormous amount of research of Rice’s history and then compressing the story into 20 minutes of visual story-telling translated into lights and sound.

Omg. How cool would it be to have a job like that?

But ANYWAY. I spent the weekend whipping up a bunch of pancake recipes that have been on my brain for the past few weeks. So we’ll have lots of pancakes to chat about for weeks to come.

Since it’s not Friday yet, let me tell you about this cornbread. My friend and I were also planning on a chili making night this Sunday. In anticipation of this, I took advantage of a completely free Sunday afternoon to make my own quinoa flour and make this double quinoa cornbread.

Making your own quinoa flour really isn’t as difficult as one might predict, given the absurd cost of buying it in the store ($10+ for a tiny sack!). Toast it until golden, then grind to a powder. Easy peasy. (As long as you have a food processor, that is.)

This cornbread could not be farther from your traditional cornbread recipe. It’s chock-full of hearty grains of quinoa (“keen-wah”…for those that have been saying “keen-oh-wa” all this time…I feel you. I just want to call Fage yogurt “FAGE!”)

In addition to being super whole grain, this is vegan. And surprisingly, despite all these modifications, it manages to hang on to a good amount of that irresistible cornbread flavor. It’s got a nice crackly crust, a crumbly texture and a grainy heartiness that accents the corn meal with pops of quinoa. It’s like, not really that sweet at all. And it’s sooooooo healthy :)

I will admit that my first impression wasn’t “OMG YUM!”–this hearty concoction that crumbles apart in grainy particles in your mouth is not the silky-moist-tender cornbread that I generally prefer. So I thought about shelving this and keeping it from the blog. But as I shot the cornbread in the diminishing afternoon Sunday light, my fork kept delving into the wide slice I’d carved out for photography purposes.

Now it’s the day after I made the cornbread and more than half of it is gone. Um, we didn’t even make the chili that was supposed to accompany this. You can draw your own conclusions. So I figured it was worth posting in case anyone is as weird as me and appreciates this odd-bird cornbread :)


Making your own quinoa flour is super easy if you have a powerful food processor. I went out to Costco (got caught in the rain for the second Sunday in a month while leaving with a cart full of groceries) and bought a sack of quinoa expressly for this purpose.

How to make quinoa flour:

1 cup quinoa = ~3/4 cup quinoa flour.

Toast the quinoa in a pan over medium heat until the kernels start to turn golden and pop (the time will depend on the amount of quinoa you put in and the size of pan you use, but about five minutes or so). Remove from heat. Once cool, grind in your food processor until ground to a fine powder. Mine didn’t quite get there, but I figured it was fine if it was a little chunky since whole quinoa was in the recipe anyway. That’s it!

The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons of corn oil. I swapped in olive oil and downsized the amount to 4 tablespoons, replacing the missing oil with one tablespoon of applesauce and one of yogurt, since it worked so well in my pumpkin muffin recipe. I might add another tablespoon or two of yogurt next time for extra moisture, but I think the flavor was definitely there from the olive oil.

Bryant Terry’s Quinoa-Quinoa Cornbread

From Edible SF

1/4 cup quinoa
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup flour (I used 1/4 cup white whole wheat, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup original unflavored rice milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon apple sauce
1 tablespoon yogurt
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan or 9″ round pan and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the quinoa, shaking the pan occasionally, until the grains start to pop, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the cornmeal, quinoa flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl with the toasted quinoa. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice milk, apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, sugar, applesauce, yogurt and olive oil. Transfer the greased pan to the oven to preheat until sizzling, about 5 minutes.

While the pan is heating, combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture and quickly mix just until the dry ingredients are moist. Do not over-mix or the bread will be dense. Remove the pan from the oven and scrape the batter into it. Return to the oven and bake on the center rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cornbread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serve immediately.

You might also like:

Pancake Fridays: Cornbread Pancakes
Best Cakey Cornbread
Healthier Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

So Labor Day came, I blinked, and suddenly it was fall. Even Houston, a place where I can still wear shorts in December, was suddenly stricken by torrential rain, gray skies and flooding roads. Last night, I got caught in a rainstorm while grocery shopping and exited the store to find about a dozen fellow shoppers milling under the overhang, staring hopelessly at their cars through the heavy sheets of rain. The sky was nearly black.

What could I do but set down my bags, run to my car, and pull up next to the sidewalk and procede to get drenched in about 20 pounds of rain in the process of loading my bags into my car? My very full bags, heavy with cans, I might add. Cans that I used to make the easiest and most delicious soup ever which I will share soon. Anyway. I think my car is still soggy.

Bleh. I want summer back.

Summer meaning yes, even those hot muggy days so oppressing they practically make your eyeballs sweat. Juicy watermelon dripping down your wrists. Lazy days where you feel like you should go take advantage of the beautiful day but really you just end up roasting by the side of the pool, waiting to earn that leap into the cold pool water for an insanely refreshing temperature shock. Monstrous ice cream cones in Wisconsin and concerts in sweat-sodden T-shirts.

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