Mesquite: it’s for more than just burning. And providing shade if you’re in the Arizona desert. Turns out that the pods the tree bears are edible (just as the wood is burnable), so if you let the pods dry out and grind them up, you have flour. A fragrant, fine flour that will make you think of caramel and barbecuing at the same time. That kind of hauntingly familiar smoke-edged flavor doesn’t go with everything, but it sure is an ideal companion whenever dark chocolate is involved!
Even if you don’t have mesquite flour on hand (I ordered my latest batch from aptly named Mesquitery in Arizona), these intensely dark chocolate cookies will still be a hit. Combining whole-grain flour with freshly ground almonds means these cookies will be crunchy, crisp, and light-textured – the perfect cookie all around, mesquite or no mesquite.
Chocolate Mesquite Cookies
Makes 60 cookies
1/2 cup mesquite flour* (if you don’t have mesquite, use teff – it has a rich, nutty flavor that also pairs well with chocolate)
1/2 cup almond meal (grind sliced almonds in a food processor or spice grinder, or buy almond meal)
1 cup brown rice flour*
1/4 cup sorghum flour*
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 T. softened butter, preferably from pastured cows (Kerrygold is my reigning favorite, partially because of its amazing flavor and partially because it’s soft after 5 minutes of standing at room temperature thanks to the fact that it’s made from cream from grass-fed cows – their grassy diet means that their milk has a lot less saturated fat in it than milk from conventional grain-fed cows does)
1 cup sucanat
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
1/4 unrefined hazelnut oil OR 1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70% dark; I used two 85% Lindt bars), broken into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter for 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually beat in sucanat. Beat in one egg at a time, then beat in oil and vanilla extract.
If you’re using gluten-free flours, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat it in until you have a smooth dough. If you’re using wheat, stir in the flour. (The gluten-free way is quicker since you don’t have to worry about overbeating the gluten present in the wheat.) Either way, stir in the chocolate chunks last.
Shape the dough into small balls about 1â€³ in diameter and place them in neat rows on the parchment-covered baking sheets. My sheets are rectangular, so I wound up with 4 rows of 5 balls across or 20 cookies per sheet. Since the recipe makes 60 cookies, stash the remaining dough in the fridge until you have a free sheet to use.
Bake cookies for 17 to 18 minutes or until they’re lightly brown on the top and brown on the bottom. (Flip one of them up to peek at its underside.) Let hot baking sheets cool completely before pulling the remaining dough out of the fridge and making the remaining cookies.
* These are gluten-free flours. If you would prefer to make wheat-based cookies, substitute whole-wheat, kamut, or spelt flours for the gluten-free flours.
Courtesy ofÂ Cultured Cook.
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