I honestly don't often think that recipes are perfect in their given state- I'm always tweaking something or other - but this one I wouldn't change anything. I was a bit skeptical at first about using natural cane sugar (that's a boon for my European friends - natural cane sugar, or brauner Zucker, is actually readily available over here), but it worked out perfectly, the larger sugar crystals melting into the cookies as they baked.
And what exactly is this mesquite powder stuff? My roommate asked me the other night when I was baking what "mesquite" meant, and boy was that a hard one to translate into German... the best I could do was explain that it was a sort of a smoky flavor originating in Latin America. Having miserably failed at explaining mesquite in German, I also realized that my native knowledge of what it is was sadly lacking. So it turns out that mesquite is actually a deciduous tree, often found in arid areas of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. My experience with "mesquite" flavor comes mostly from barbecue, where mesquite wood can be burned, and the smoke from the wood adds a really distinct flavor to meat. Mesquite flour, on the other hand, is made by grinding up the dried bean pods of the tree, and can be used in all kinds of baking. It's obviously not yet a common ingredient for baking, but it really ought to be, because it imparts a delicious nutty, slightly sweet flavor, and is rich in all kinds of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and the amino acid lysine (the package I got at whole foods tags it as a "Super Food", which is a legally meaningless phrase, but is somehow supposed to indicate that it is "super" for our health).
So, this recipe was a fun exploration into new ingredients, and a huge success! I will be making these regularly, as long as I can keep a regular stock of mesquite powder on hand.
Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
This makes a lot of cookie dough, so feel free to halve the recipe, like I did. Also, cookie dough is super easy to freeze and keep on hand for on-demand home-baked cookies. Just roll the dough into a log so that you can slice off cookies whenever you want to bake them. Wrap the log in plastic wrap or wax paper, and stash in the freezer.
2½ cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (160 g) mesquite flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces (220 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400 g) natural cane sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (230 g) rolled oats
2 cups (360 g) chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. With an electric mixer beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until creamy.
4. Add the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated, then the vanilla.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.6
6. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips by hand - I use a large wooden spoon.
7. Drop mounds, about two tablespoons of dough each, evenly-spaced onto a baking sheet.
8. Bake for 10 minutes, until just beginning to set and slightly golden around the edges. As with all chocolate chip cookies, do not over-bake. An under-baked cookie is always better than an over-baked cookie!