Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mesquite flour adds a wonderful accent to these oat and walnut studded chocolate chip cookies. If you've never baked with it, this is your encouragement
If you’re looking for a unique and special chocolate chip cookie, this is the recipe. I developed a version of these for my book Super Natural Cooking circa 2007 and they’ve had a special place in my heart (and kitchen!) in the years since. If I were going to enter a cookie contest, these might very well be my entry. The flavor is that good. To make them requires tracking down one specialty ingredient, mesquite flour. I promise it is worth the extra effort. Mesquite flour is a wonderful, fragrant flour made from the ground-up pods of the mesquite tree. It has a slightly sweet and chocolaty flavor, with a touch of malt and smokiness. You can use it all sorts of things, far beyond these cookies, including pancake mixes, waffle mixes, oatmeal, and sweet quick breads.
Ingredient Spotlight: Mesquite Flour
Chances are you’re new to mesquite flour, so here’s a bit about where it comes from. First thing, mesquite trees are very generous and play an important role in the lives of many native cultures in the Americas. They grow in a wide area ranging from the Southwestern United States all the way through Central and South America - the Sonoran desert, Chihuahuan Desert, Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico. If you’ve driven through the Southwest, you’ve seen a lot of mesquite. And, as you can see from this list, mesquite are drought-tolerant and thrive in hot and arid climates. They are also remarkably resilient plants that give back in many ways and contribute life-sustaining properties to the communities they are a part of. Mesquite also nitrogen fixes, so it gives back to the land in that way as well.
Different parts of the plant are used for different purposes. Mesquite wood has long been used as fuel or shelter. Beyond that, flour ground from mesquite pods are an important food source, celebrated for being nutrient-rich profile, contributing fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates to traditional diets. The plant has medicinal uses as well as ceremonial. So, mesquite flour, a wonderfully delicious ingredient plays a rich and important role in many cultures.
Where to Buy Mesquite Flour
Sourcing mesquite flour will take a bit of effort. Look for products that are sustainably harvested preferably using traditional methods. You want 100% mesquite flour with no other added ingredients or flavoring. If you roadtrip through the Southwest, keep an eye out at local markets and farmers’ markets for bags of mesquite flour. This is where you’re likely to find locally produced products. Unfortunately, the ones I’ve picked up in the past that way don’t have active websites. This Peruvian mesquite flours mentioned below have been reliably good, and are easy to get. Please let me know in the comments if you are using local mesquite flour and can point me to a site to order.
- Terrasoul Superfoods Mesquite Flour: I've had the most experience with this mesquite flour and the one below. Both are Peruvian, reliably good, with a fine grind and flour-like texture.
- Zocolo Organic Mesquite Flour
- Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Flour
- Native Seeds Mesquite Flour
- Mount Hope Mesquite Flour
What if I don’t have Mesquite Flour?
If you don’t have mesquite flour, substitute 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour OR all-purpose flour in its place; your chocolate chip cookies will still turn out chocolate chewy and fantastic.
How To Freeze Cookies:
Scoop cookie dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze for an hour or so and then transfer the frozen dough balls to a container or freezer bag. The will keep, frozen, for a month or two. Bake at the regular the temperature, adding a couple minutes to the overall baking time. You can see them arranged to be frozen in the photo above.
Below you can see the cookies ready to go into the oven. I use a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop to get uniform cookies. This recipe makes a lot of cookie dough. The motto here is bake some, freeze some.
Avoid over-baking these cookies. The dough is darker that cookies made exclusively with unbleached all-purpose flour. Because of this, it can be a bit trickier to tell when they're fully baked. Look at the edges of the cookies, where the dough touches the pan. You want that to be nice and golden.
Lastly, lets talk about add-ins. These cookies are loaded with chocolate chunks and boosted with walnut pieces. I feel like the chocolate is key here, and I love the chocolate walnut combination. But I encourage you to experiment with other combinations. A bit of espresso powder might be nice. Or maybe some sort of toasted coconut version.
Here's where you can find all the cookie recipes. I love chocolate chip cookies and you can find a number of different takes on them including David Lebovitz's Great Chocolate Chip Cookies, Itsy Bitsy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (best ice cream sandwich cookies), Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies, this Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie, and these Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies.
Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies
I like to hand-chop chocolate into chocolate chunks. You can do this or use standard chocolate chips.
- 2 1/2 cups / 310 g all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup / 130 g mesquite flour, break up any clumps
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 cup / 8 oz / 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups / 400 g granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups / 160 g rolled oats
- 1 1/3 cups / 240 g bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cups / TK g chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 375F and position the racks in the upper half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then mix in the sugar until it is the consistency of a thick frosting. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next and scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times as you go. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in 3 increments, stirring between each addition. At this point you should have a moist, uniformly brown dough. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts, mixing only until evenly distributed.
Drop 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden on top and bottom. Avoid overtaking these, if anything err on the side of underbaking them. Cool on wire racks.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen chunky, medium-large cookies.
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