I’ve had a hankering to try Heidi‘s recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies with her secret ingredient—mesquite flour—for the longest time. But although the mesquite flour I eventually found encompasses several continents, like I do, it’s not available in the one I live in. So when I went to Texas, which I figured would be the epicenter of mesquite last June, I wandered the well-stocked aisles at Central Market in search of it. And lo and behold, there is was.
Looking at the label, I was surprised to find that it was imported…from Argentina. By a California company. And there I was, in a supermarket in Texas, buying it. Which I then brought back to France.
As I made my way through the store, trying to conceal my brazen globalism, en route to the cashier a woman stopped me and said, “Oh! I bet you’re going to make those chocolate chip cookies!” If the presence of just one ingredient is enough to elicit a response, apparently I wasn’t the only one fascinated by Heidi’s secret ingredient.
The mesquite flour is a bit pricey, so be prepared for some sticker-shock. But on the “Latte Index”, the price for the mesquite flour in these cookies is about 3/4 of a latte, which isn’t really all that bad and my bag cost less than what I paid to see a movie yesterday. And really, I remember paying that much for a couple of pre-made cookies from Mrs. Fields. And heck, I don’t even know her!
But since I do know Heidi, I reasoned it was worth trying. And boy, was I rewarded! These are big, jumbo cookies; soft, moist, with chunks of dark chocolate mingled with the smoky-scent of nutty mesquite.
Since I’m not as virtuous as Heidi, I used white sugar instead of the natural cane sugar she recommended. But I did make up for it by using a mixture of rolled cereales (grains) in place of the rolled oats she calls for and you can certainly use whole wheat flour in place of the white flour if you have some handy.
After I bought the bag of mesquite, opened it up and took a whiff, I knew this recipe would be a winner. Sure enough, I was right.
And my secret? Keep reading…
Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking (Ten Speed) by Heidi Swanson
This makes a lot of cookie dough, so feel free to freeze half of the dough in a zip-top bag for use another time. Tip: If you form them into mounds first, then freeze them, you can simply pop them onto a baking sheet later on. Also, feel free also to chop up your own chocolate and use those bits in place of the chips.
Mesquite flour is definitely wonderful in these cookies and if you do get some, you won’t be disappointed. However I have also made them with buckwheat flour, which you can do if you wish.
2 1/2 cups (330g) flour
1 cup (160g) mesquite flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces (220g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400g) natural cane sugar (See Note)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (230g) rolled oats or a mixture of rolled grains
2 cups (360g) chocolate chips
Prepare two baking sheets covered with parchment paper or lined with silicone baking mats.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
1. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. With an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. If using a mixer, stop it once or twice and scrape down the sides.
3. Add the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated, then the vanilla.
4. Add the flour mixture in three batches, incorporating it as you go.
5. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips. The dough is quite stiff at this point and if you’re not using a powerful standing electric mixer, you may wish to roll up your sleeves and use your hands, like I did.
6. Drop mounds, about two tablespoons of dough each, evenly-spaced onto the baking sheet.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just beginning to set. Heidi’s admonition in her recipe should be ringing in your ears at this point…”Don’t overbake these; if anything, underbake them” certainly holds true.
Oh yes, and my secret:
Here’s a tip to help keep chocolate chip cookies moist when they cool: When you pull the cookies out of the oven, take a spatula and tap the top of each cookie once, very lightly, to flatten any peaks and level them.
Then let them cool as usual for the moistest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies imaginable!
Note: The original recipe calls for ‘natural cane sugar’, which are unrefined sugar crystals. I’ve made this with both granulated white sugar and light brown sugar crystals and they both came out fine. For a softer, chewier cookie, I suggest using light brown sugar crystals, if you can find them.
Links & Resources:
You can find mesquite flour on Amazon.
Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch (Recipe)
Adam shows off his Cookie trick.
101Cookbooks.com has a discussion board to help those searching for mesquite flour.
My review of Super Natural Cooking, with another recipe from the book.
Clotilde’s Very Chocolate Cookies (Recipe)
And Heidi had a go at my Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Great Book of Chocolate.
Why you should use aluminum-free baking powder
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse (Recipe)
“Baked” Brownies (Recipe)