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Kernza® Silver Buttons

Kernza® Silver Buttons

Makes about 2 dozen cookies


Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 11 minutes

Rest 10-20 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cup Kernza® Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ground pistachio nuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

This is a submission for the 2020 Star Tribune Cookie Contest. I wanted to use Kernza flour for my submission. I have followed a 1 to 1 substitution model for every recipe I try with the hope of replacing standard wheat flour in our diet. I've made killer biscuits, crepes and muffins. I've noticed that sometimes it likes a little more liquid, but otherwise, it replaces standard flour extremely well. 

How did I pick the flavor direction for this recipe?
As Belinda Jensen mentioned in her piece about Kernza® at the MN State Fair last year, "Kernza® has a nutty flavor with undertones of molasses . . .". One of my favorite holiday foods is a stout gingerbread, so I easily started down that path. Then I thought of cardamom which is synonymous with Christmas in our family—going back generations. I believe that is why I love Garam Masala with its bewitching combination of cardamom, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I add it to all sorts of food, so why not cookies. I imagined adding a dollop of apricot, fig or pear jam on top that would act as a wonderful complement, so I googled "beautiful spice cookie pear jam" and found a compelling recipe by the Jam Lab. It sounded amazing but too complex for this purpose, so I simplified it down to its key elements of alluring spices and a stunning coat of silver sanding sugar.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking liner.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Kernza® flour, salt, ground pistachios, garam masala, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar — whisking for 2-3 minutes until pale yellow in color and fluffy, at high speed. Now add in the vanilla extract and egg and whisk again till blended. Scrap the sides of the bowl to gather the mixture into the center. Add in the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour some silver sanding sugar into a small flat bowl.
  6. Use a mini cookie scoop or a tablespoon scoop and roll small 1" balls. Roll each ball into the silver sanding sugar and cover completely.
  7. Place them on a baking sheet with a parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 11 minutes until cookies are just set. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely. 

These cookies should keep in the fridge for about a week. I also like to use the age-old trick of storing them in a bag with half an apple to keep them moist.

What I love about these cookies? They are stunning in their simplicity, with mouth-watering spices and novel ingredients. They have a lovely crunch followed by an airy softness that I adore. I hope you will also fall in love with this cookie and its key ingredient—Kernza®.



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