Recipe by Mâmawi Cafe
Story by Jenni Lessard
Nothing satisfies a sweet tooth like chocolate chip cookies! Add some delicious, traditional Indigenous ingredients like sage, dried cranberries and wild rice and the classic treat is elevated to a whole new level.
Visitors to the Mâmawi Café, a student-run food program at the heart of the Mâmawêyatitân center in North Central, Regina, Saskatchewan are used to such innovations coming out of the ovens and onto the a la carte and catering menus.
The cafe’s purpose is to provide training opportunities for Tourism & Hospitality Pathway students at Scott Collegiate.
Under the guidance of lead instructor Kelley Christopherson and an in-house red seal chef, students obtain high-level skills, certifications and meaningful experiences that equip them to be successful in the industry after high school.
Wild rice from northern Saskatchewan lakes is puffed in small batches in a heavy bottomed pan with a little canola oil to add an earthy flavour and pleasantly chewy texture.
Commercially grown cranberries are used in this recipe but students have also had the chance to try their hand at dehydrating berries, a technique that First Nations people have been using for thousands of years.
Canola oil in the cookie dough is an economical addition to the recipe and provides a crispy, golden exterior while keeping the interior soft and tender.
Since sage is one of the sacred medicines along with tobacco, cedar and sweetgrass, the variety used in this recipe is commercially grown, not wild harvested.
The students do have the opportunity to harvest some plants using proper protocols, though. Rose hips from bushes right outside the school have ended up in compound butters, sauces, and teas.
Kelley Christopherson is excited what the future holds for her students when they finish the program.
“Indigenous tourism in Canada is growing. Visitors to Canada are looking to experience an authentic Indigenous tourism experience. The Tourism & Hospitality Pathway provides an opportunity for our youth to learn and discover Indigenous tourism concepts and experiment with Indigenous cuisine while collaborating with various industry experts.”
In the Cree language, Mâmawi means “together”. The aroma of these cookies baking is sure to bring your family together in the kitchen, so you might want to plan for a double batch!
Cranberry, Sage, and Puffed Wild Rice Cookies
- In a large bowl, beat oil and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in eggs one at a time.
- In medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to wet ingredients. Stir in cranberries, puffed rice and sage.
- Drop tablespoons of dough, 2 inches (5 cm) apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly press each cookie with bottom of a glass to slightly flatten.
- Bake in a 350 °F (180 °C) oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
½ cup (125 mL) wild rice
2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil 1. Heat a heavy bottom saucepan on high heat, add canola oil and rice. Cover the pan and shake vigorously. Reduce heat to medium and continue shaking until rice pops about 3 to 5 minutes.