It’s Carolyn today sharing one of my favorite holiday recipes. The flavor of mesquite meal blends nicely with the warm spices we like in the winter. These Mesquite Ginger Folk are pretty cute and they taste wonderful. I used good quality margarine rather than butter or Crisco because I like the eventual texture and the flavor is good. This recipe makes a spicy cookie. If you want more of the mesquite flavor to come through, cut down on the spices. The dough must be well chilled before you roll it out, so this is a two-step recipe: mixing first, then later rolling and baking.
Mesquite Ginger Folk (makes about 3 1/2 dozen rolled cookies)
In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup mesquite meal, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir and fluff with a fork and then set aside.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat 1 1/2 sticks margarine with 1/2 cup packed brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in 2/3 cup molasses and one large egg. Then gradually add the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. You may need to give up the mixer for a wooden spoon. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about three hours.
When you are ready to bake, take one disk from the refrigerator . You’ll want the dough just warm enough to roll without cracking. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 350 F. and put out brown paper or wire racks to receive the baked cookies. You’ll also need lots of flour to keep the dough from sticking when rolled. So get a small bowl of flour, take part of the disk, and roll it in the flour before you roll out with the rolling pin.
Roll out the dough about 1/8-inch thick on flour-dusted surface. Cut out the cookies and transfer them to the cookie sheet, placing them 1 inch apart. Gently knead the scraps together and roll out again. When you fill one cookie sheet, bake it for about 10 – 12 minutes while you prepare another sheet.
If you wish, you can use raisins and dried cranberries to make eyes, a mouth and buttons. Chop the dried fruit into tiny pieces.
Sometimes it is difficult to position those tiny pieces on the cookies. But remember those tweezers you keep in the kitchen to deal with cactus stickers? Perfect for placing the eyes and buttons.
To further decorate the cookies, perhaps make some shoes or pants, mix up some white frosting using powered sugar, a little butter and a few drops of milk. If you have a decorator bag, use it to pipe out some decorations or just draw the decorations with a flat-end toothpick. Either way, you’ll love your Mesquite Ginger Folk and you’ll love sharing them.
If you’d like to make some mesquite cookies but can’t face the cutting and decorating, you can use the same recipe to make drop cookies. Frost if you have time.
If you have not harvested your own mesquite meal, here are a few places to purchase it: The Flor de Mayo Table at Sunday St. Phillips Farmers Market; the Native Seeds/SEARCH store at 3061 N. Campbell Ave. and http://www.nativeseeds.org for mail order; and the San Xavier Farm Store, http://www.sanxavierfarm.org. If you are in Phoenix, check the farmers markets there.
For more great mesquite recipes, check out my cookbook Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants. You’ll learn how to make Mesquite Apple Coffeecake, a fabulous rolled cake with mesquite and coconut, a a dozen other delicious recipes.