Sunday, September 23, 2007

Unusual Ingredients

If you can bake a batch of chocolate chips cookies you will never be without friends. Or, at least that's my motto.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies. Although I have my favorite recipes, I always seem to be drawn to new ones. My signature cookies are "Busy-Bee Chippers" from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies cookbook. I still have my copy, a 1966 edition, where I wrote, many years ago, advice for future batches...."watch timimg, burn very easily...Good, easy too, you can taste the honey alot, and boys luv um."
You can probably guess how old I was when I first starting baking. Above that recipe on the same page is another for Oatmeal Chip Cookies which I gave a Very Good rating. But somehow, I identified more with the Busy-Bee Chippers. I remember thinking how unique it was to use honey instead of granulated white cane sugar. Even as a suburban kid in the 60's I understood the increasing importance for more healthful ingredients.

In her cookbook, Super Natural Cooking, Heidi Swanson introduces a number of interesting ingredients which can transform the most standard of food items. In reading her book it quickly became clear that I could not embark on her recipes in my usual manner. No substitutions to use whatever I had on hand. The fun of her book is finding the ingredients she recommends. What a reward I received when I followed her chocolate chip cookie recipe, exactly as stated...even using whole-wheat pastry flour. But the big secret? Mesquite flour. She writes in her book: "Chances are you're new to mesquite flour, a wonderful, fragrant flour made from the ground-up pods of the mesquite tree." Trust me, it is worth searching for this unique flour and making her Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone will love these...not just the boys!!!

2 comments:

T.W. Barritt said...

We sure have many more ingredients available than we did in the 1960s, when honey seemed an exotic way to go. I may have that Better Homes cookbook somewhere ...

Valli said...

Mesquite flour!! I don't suppose it would work to grind up the mesquite chips for my BBQ to replace the flour. Wink...wink...The cookies look and sound wonderful. I am all for trying new ingredients, but, will have to search in our neck of the woods. I am still looking for masa farina or any substitute.