I made quinoa peanut butter cookies one day. They contained no wheat, which meant I could eat them without upsetting my stomach. I thought the cookies were buttery and delicious, so I took some to our daughter, Emily who lives nearby. When I later asked her over the phone how she and her fiancé Alex liked them, she told me, “Mom, we don’t need to eat gluten-free. We can eat regular cookies.” That seemed silly to me. A cookie is a cookie. Then, as if to take the sting out of her rejection, she said, “The sheep liked them though.”
“Wait. What? You fed them to your sheep?” On their farm, Emily and Alex have a small herd of Tunis, an ancient breed of sheep with coppery-brown faces and bodies billowing with creamy wool. I didn’t know sheep ate anything besides grain and hay.
“Yeah,” she said, “they were climbing on top of each other to get them, they liked them so much.” After that, I started calling the cookies “sheep treats.” At least I had some four-legged fans of my baking.
In February, I went to the farm to see some newborn lambs, which emerge a cinnamon brown color, so adorable. I had a plastic bag in my pocket with some of my homemade sheep treat cookies inside. No matter that it was tightly sealed. As soon as I went through the gate to the hilltop meadow, the ewes stopped nibbling grass, raised their heads, and laser focused on me. It was a little eerie how quickly they clustered around me. My attention was so much on the sweet, new lambs that I forgot I had treats for their mothers. Emily, however, noticed the adult sheep nuzzling my red, wool coat. “Do you have something in your pocket, Mom?”
“Oh, yeah.” When I pulled out the bag and opened it, that’s when I was in the middle of a sheep riot. Bleating and grumbling, a dozen or so woolly clouds bumped into me, begging for a cookie. The sheep in the back climbed onto the plush bodies of the ones in front to get closer to the treats. In their haste and my nervousness, it was difficult to feed the sheep. Emily managed to get a couple cookies in their mouths, but all the treats I offered crumbled at their assault.
That was a little crazy. Nevertheless, a bad day getting mobbed by sheep is still a pretty good day. Sheep are a treat for me and I’ll keep on making treats for them, my biggest fans.
QUINOA COOKIES, aka, Sheep Treats (from my box of Ancient Harvest quinoa flakes)
Preheat oven to 350 F
Mix: 1/2 cup butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar (or a dash of maple syrup), 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup peanut butter.
Add: 3/4 cup quinoa flakes, I cup rice flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12- 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool for a couple minutes before removing from sheet.