nutty quinoa bird nests

I can not believe that Easter is tomorrow. My senior year is coming to the close and soon I will officially be a college graduate. That's scary... Anyways enough about that!  This recipe is a spin off of these spring themed cookies my mom used to make for Easter every year with either shredded wheat or chow mein noodles and peanut m&m's. To get the same crunchy texture for the "nest" I POPPED quinoa (so yummy), used crunchy peanut butter, and added in sunflower seeds. I also substituted the m&m's for raw chocolate covered almonds for the "eggs". I hope you enjoy the recipe and are having a wonderful Easter weekend!

 He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his peopleโ€™s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

~ Isaiah 25:8

ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 8 dates soaked and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut plus extra for topping
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of raw whole almonds

directions:

For the Popped Quinoa:
Bring 2 cups of water to boil, stir in uncooked quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer until the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Spread the cooked quinoa out on a baking pan and place in the oven on low, 250 F, and bake until the quinoa is completely dry and slightly browned (about 1 hr).

For the Chocolate Covered Almonds (aka chocolate covered eggs):
Melt chocolate chips on low in either the microwave, stir until smooth and creamy. Mix in raw almonds, place to the side.

For the Cookie:
Measure out 1 cup of the popped quinoa, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon. Place in large bowl and stir until well combined. Have ready and measured out the peanut butter as well as the vanilla (the next step happens FAST so it's best to be prepared). Next, over medium heat melt the coconut oil and honey together and bring to a boil, added in the chopped dates. Once boiling, allow the mixture to boil for one minute (this step is important to allow the cookies to set properly). Remove from heat immediately and add to the large bowl containing the dry ingredients. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until all ingredients are incorporated. On a pan with wax paper drop amount desired of no-bake batter for each cookie. Press 3-4 chocolate covered almonds into the center of each cookie and garnish with extra shredded coconut. Place in the fridge and allow to set for at least 30 minutes. Store in fridge (makes about 12 cookies).