Fun fact: Amaranth was banished after the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The Spanish forbid its cultivation in hopes of helping to eliminate the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice. (Amaranth was often made into a ceremonial mixture that would be eaten at such occasions.)
It fell out of use for hundreds of years, and only now in recent times is amaranth getting any attention from westerners. Even today, its appreciation from home cooks seems to be small.
Yet, it’s doubtful this natural superfood staple of the Mayans and Aztecs will hang under the radar for long.
Like quinoa, amaranth is a complete protein, packing in nearly 10 grams of the muscle-building nutrient per cup (30% more than rice) along with a notable amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Meanwhile, in contrast to quinoa, since this gluten-free grain hasn’t yet fully been rediscovered, you can still score a bulk bin bag of the nutty seed at a price that won’t set you back.
After a recent trip to Mexico, where I found amaranth showing up both on menus in the form of breakfast porridge and as a nutty topping to various salads, I began to start experimenting with it myself in my own kitchen.
I love it as an alternative to oatmeal, cooked up with almond milk and raisins, and swirled with cinnamon, maple syrup and nuts. Just recently, I discovered it in its flour form.
After receiving a bag of amaranth flour from Bob’s Red Mill, I got to work — and to daydreaming — in thinking up ways to use it. With Easter approaching, I settled on doing some sort of baked treat, which led me in creating this recipe.
Inspired by spring, these Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies are spice-forward and a perfect pairing to a tall glass of almond milk. I recommend serving them with a smear of almond butter on the side, too, or even peanut butter if you have either on hand. For an extra special treat, sandwich a scoop of coconut ice cream between two cookies.
Did I mention they’re vegan and gluten-free, too? And not all that unhealthy, too…
- 1 cup amaranth flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. cardamom
- 2 tsp. molasses
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
- Almond milk, for serving
- Almond butter, optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and use a spoonful of coconut oil to well grease the sheet.
- Combine amaranth flour, oats, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, combine molasses, coconut oil, applesauce and maple syrup. Whisk together until smooth and then stir in carrots.
- Add wet ingredients to the large bowl and mix with a spatula until just combined. Gently stir in the walnuts and raisins.
- Fill a 1/4-cup halfway to create your first cookie. Shape into a 1/2-inch dish and place on baking sheet. Cookies won't flatten or spread much with baking, so you can place them relatively close to one another.
- Repeat with remaining dough until you've made about 15-16 cookies.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until top reaches a rich brown. (They should still be a little moist when you remove them from the oven.) Let cool on baking sheet.
- Serve with a tall glass of almond milk and a dollop of almond butter.