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 it 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, 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 oats, and you can certainly use whole-wheat pastry 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 SwansonThis 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 is often called mesquite powder. If you decide to use whole-wheat pastry flour, you can find it at natural foods stores as well as Bob's Red Mill, Amazon and King Arthur Flour.
2 1/2 cups (330g) all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup (100g) mesquite flour
1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces (225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400g) granulated or natural cane sugar (See Note)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (230g) rolled oats (not instant)
2 cups (360g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate chunks
Prepare two baking sheets covered with parchment paper or lined with silicone baking mats.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
1. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a large bowl (and a strong arm!), 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. Set mounds, each a generous two tablespoons (about the size of an unshelled walnut) of dough, evenly-spaced onto the baking sheet.
7. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just beginning to set. A few minutes before they'd done, open the oven door and use a pancake turner or metal spatula to lightly, but surely, tap the tops of the cookies down, so the tops are flat. (This helps keeps the cookies moist, once baked.)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.
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.
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)