Recipe Friday: Chocolate Teff Balls

(wheat-free, gluten-free, egg-free)
Early in my post-allergy life, I found a recipe that called for 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, and one egg. Pretty simple, and probably delicious; however, I can’t have cane sugar or eggs, and, I wanted CHOCOLATE! These are my indulgence.

These yummy little balls can be made with or without the teff – they are SO good, either way. Without the teff, they have a texture and consistency of snowball cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes, which has been a point of contention in my family ever since I grew up). With the teff, they are moist and chewy. The photo shows with teff.

Teff info:

Teff is a delicious grain. It adds some chewiness and a little crunch to the cookie, as well as helping to hold it together. [Side note: To cook teff as a tasty porridge, mix 1 part teff to 3 parts water in a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; stir well when done. Mix with a little fruit and sweetener (if desired) of your choice.]

Teff is gluten-free, and is a good source of copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and selenium ( 1 , 5 ). Additionally, it’s an excellent source of protein, with all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein in your body.

Teff is known as an ancient grain, as it has been grown in Ethiopia for thousands of years. It is relatively new to American markets. It can be purchased as a grain (it is the world’s tiniest grain!), or as a flour. This recipe uses the whole grain.

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min

Yield: 15 – 20 cookies


  • 2/3 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy; use the natural kind – peanuts and salt ONLY
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use sucanat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer, mixed with 1 tbs warm water (OR a real egg, if you can tolerate them)
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa (I use raw cacao powder)
  • 1/4 cup dry teff, simmered for 15 minutes with 1/2 cup water, and cooled enough to handle (teff is optional)



Preheat oven to 350°.

If using the teff, cook it first.

Mix together the peanut butter, sugar, egg replacer, and cacao.

If you’re adding the teff, this is when. Mix really well.

Roll into balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Place sheet in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes.

Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on size; it will make more, if you add the teff.

Another way to use this recipe:

For moist, chewy brownies, cook 1/2 cup teff in 1-1/4 cup water for 15 minutes, and add that to the peanut butter/ cocoa mixture. Pour into a greased or oiled 8″ round or square pan, and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Recipe Friday: Teff

A quick Internet search on teff leads to a debate as to whether teff is a grain or a seed. Most sites call it a grain, but it is truly a SEED. It cooks like a grain, though, and it, or its flour, can make good breads, flatbreads, cookies, and porridge.

Teff is wholly gluten-free and is safe for celiacs.

According to Wikipedia: “Eragrostis tef, also known as teff, Williams lovegrass or annual bunch grass, is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass native to the Horn of Africa, notably what is today modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is cultivated for its edible seeds, also known as teff. Teff originated in the Horn of Africa, corresponding to what is today modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is one of the most important cereals”

Teff is high in protein and iron, and much of its fiber is a type known as resistant starch, which has been linked in studies to health benefits such as improved blood sugar.

  • Contains all of the essential amino acids and offers 7g of protein per serving
  • Good source of dietary fiber (16% daily value)
  • Excellent source of iron (20% DV)
  • Good source of calcium (10% DV)
  • A comparable glycemic index (74) to sorghum (72) and oats (71)

Teff can be purchased in whole form (tiny, tiny seeds), or as a flour.

Each of the following recipes calls for the whole-seed teff.

My favorite use for teff is as a porridge I made up:

Teff Porridge

Makes one large portion


  • 1/3 cup teff
  • 2/3 cup filtered water
  • Big splash of pineapple juice
  • Big glob of peanut butter
  • As many frozen dark sweet cherries as makes you happy


  1. Mix teff and water together in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Stir in pineapple juice, peanut butter, and cherries.
  4. Re heat to just bubbling.
  5. Serve hot; or, it thickens as it cools and is still delicious.

Ethiopian Injera (a flatbread)

Ethiopian Injera* (image from the Internet)


  • 1 cup Teff Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Water (warm)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt


  1. In a deep container with a lid, whisk together the water, flour, and salt. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator overnight for at least 8 hours (or up to 48 hours).
  2. To cook, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Use a liquid measuring cup to pour the batter into the hot pan in a thin spiral.
  3. Let cook until bubbles begin to form on the surface and the top begins to darken and dry, 3-4 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.