I don’t feel all that great right now (too many cookies), but I’m so thrilled with the outcome that I didn’t want to put off writing this post. I’ve been chain-eating the best gluten-free, mesquite, duck egg, chocolate-chip, pecan cookies ever made. Granted, there’s probably no one in the universe who’s ever made these before, but seriously — these cookies are prize winners. Maybe not Food Network winners, but they aren’t losers and that’s something to celebrate in the world of gluten-free baking. Actually, I take that back. These are Food Network winners, worthy of the James Beard Best Eccentric Cookie Award. Nigella Lawson would swoon over these.
Ugh, but I haven’t eaten any cookies in ages and I kept testing them (over and over) just to make sure I wasn’t experiencing some sort of gustatory hallucination.
Either the gluten-free god has a crush on me, I’m in a good karma phase, or it’s the duck eggs. Remember the post I did about the Grant Family Farm Bird Spa? If you missed it, you must read it as these duck eggs are wonderful, especially for gluten-free baking. Seriously, I’m in love with them, head-over-heels in love. They add texture and “depth” to gluten-free baking. It’s that gluten-imparting quality that you can’t really describe, but you know when it’s missing. I’ve made muffins, cookies, and breakfast bread using duck eggs and each time I was thrilled with the outcome. Duck eggs rock!
Adding to the eccentricity of these cookies is mesquite flour. You can’t believe how wonderful this stuff is. I wish I had a scratch and sniff blog, you’d be delirious with one whiff. I’d have you hooked and coming back for more in no time.
Mesquite has a sweet, chocolatey, coffee, cinnamony taste. Or something like that. I can’t quite pin-point it, but it smells absolutely divine. It gives baked goods a nice cinnamon color — it’s beautiful flour. Plus, mesquite is high in fiber and protein (especially lysine, but I’ll spare you the details) and is a good source of calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. It also helps balance blood sugar levels. (Of course, that whole balancing your blood sugar thing doesn’t work as well when you add a bunch of sugar to the recipe. There’s only so much this little pod can do.) Ground mesquite pods were a staple for Native Americans and indigenous people of the southwest.
It’s not necessary to have duck eggs and mesquite flour on hand to make these cookies, but I’m thinking that’s a good part of what made them sooo good.
Melissa’s gluten-free mesquite chocolate chip duck egg cookies
*This recipe makes about 5 or 6 dozen cookies depending on how big you make them. Store in refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for a couple of months. Gluten-free baked goods don’t last as long.
1 cup Earth Balance Butter (room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar (organic cane sugar)
1/3 cup brown sugar (organic brown sugar)
2 duck eggs (or 2 large chicken eggs, room temperature and whisked well)
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups multi-purpose flour blend *
1/4 cup mesquite flour (please seen my comments on mesquite below) *
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 365 to 375 degrees (depending on the “hotness” of your oven). Place rack in center of oven. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
2. In medium-sized bowl – add both flours, baking soda, and salt and whisk to mix (whisking also aerates the dry ingredients). Set aside.
3. Beat shortening and both sugars on medium speed. Add vanilla and whisked eggs and beat until well-mixed and fluffy.
4. Add flour and mix on medium speed until well blended.
5. Add chocolate chips and nuts and hand-stir to blend.
6. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet a couple of inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes (it could take any where from 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven, so watch carefully). Cookies should be golden brown color. Cool and store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.
* I used to make up my own basic flour blend back in my early days of GF baking, but there are so many good options available now that I no longer bother. I used Authentic Foods Multi Blend Flour, which is similar to the foundation blend I used to make myself. It’s made up mainly of brown rice and sweet rice flours. It does contain a little corn starch, so if you have issues with corn, you might want to try something different.
* The mesquite flour I use is an organic version from Casa de Fruta. It’s an expensive treat, but luckily you don’t need much. A little goes a long way and it stores well (I keep all my flour in the refrigerator). They suggest adding 2 tablespoons to each cup of regular flour, but I find that to be just a touch too much. I like a very subtle mesquite taste — it can quickly become overpowering. I measured out 3 tablespoons of mesquite into my 1/4th cup measuring cup and topped it off with the basic flour blend, making it 3 T in my 2 & 1/4th cup total. Does that make sense?
When using gluten-free flour (or any flour, I suppose), make sure you measure correctly. Rather than ramble on about this, I’m going to send you over to Carol Fenster’s website for detailed instructions on measuring. Carol lives here in Denver, is a sweetheart of a cookbook writer, and is the queen of gluten-free baking. Take it from her, she knows what she’s talking about.
Go forth and create!