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!!!


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.