I loved to collect the mail when I was a child. The thought of a special letter or magazine waiting for me fueled the anticipation. Now, letter writing is practically an ancient art form and most of the mail goes directly into the recycling bin. But when a new cookbook arrives unexpectedly…now that’s a good mail day!
Such was the case a few weeks ago when my friends at Bob’s Red Mill graciously sent me a copy of their newly published Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook which is loaded with whole-grain recipes highlighting familiar grains like oats and quinoa as well as less commonly used options like teff and amaranth. The book, penned by Camilla Saulsbury, provides a primer on the various grains, which includes basic cooking instructions along with various tips and substitutions for the 281 recipes.
As I love to do with new cookbooks, I read this one from cover to cover, dog-earing the recipes that intrigued me. I probably turned down 20 page corners and have tried several of the recipes with great success. I decided to share a mildly adapted version of a crispy round granola cookie which incorporates a grain that may be new to many–amaranth. Because so many readers are searching for low-sugar options, I especially liked that this recipe has just one teaspoon of maple syrup per serving.
So what’s so great about amaranth? Amaranth is a tiny grain that’s loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and B vitamins. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is believed to support heart and bone health. Amaranth can even be popped like popcorn. (Like I did here with sorghum!) In the following recipe, the uncooked amaranth grains behave like seeds and provide a crunchy counterbalance to the chewy dried fruit. From my gluten-free dad to my kids, niece and sister-in-law, everyone enjoyed these granola rounds as a wholesome snack. Note: As with small seeds, the uncooked amaranth grains do get stuck in braces…but that didn’t stop my younger son. ; )
And one last thought on the mail… When I was a kid, my dog Ruffy was as excited as I was to see the mailman because he always got a bone. To our current dog Angus’ delight, he regularly received a similar treat…until last week. Our mail carrier told us that he could no longer give out treats. Seems that, like people, many dogs have allergies and for this reason the mail carriers were asked to stop. Perhaps a recipe for gluten-free dog treats is in order!
Yield: 12 granola rounds
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups (145 grams) old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) uncooked amaranth, rinsed well and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, raisins, and/or apricots (or a mix of your favorite dried fruits)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (we also like a mix of pecans and sunflower seeds or pepitas)
- Optional: 2 tablespoons shredded coconut (I use unsweetened)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt until frothy. (You can do this with a dinner fork–just whisk for a good minute or two.)
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until fully incorporated.
Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Press down firmly with the flat part of a small measuring cup to compact the ingredients.
Bake for 15 minutes (give or take a couple of minutes depending on oven) or until the rounds appear dry in the center and lightly golden around the edges. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then pop the rounds out of the pan using the tip of a dinner knife.
Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They will be chewiest the day they are cooked and will become slightly crisper over time.
This recipe was adapted from Bob’s Red Mill’s new cookbook, Everyday Gluten-Free, by Camilla Saulsbury.