Toffee Oatmeal Chip Cookies


I don’t know why I don’t bake cookies more often – they are such an excellent tool for bribing the kids to do the small, important jobs that happen to appear on their weekly chore lists, but for some reason don’t actually get done.  Like walking the dog.

We adopted Poppy, our little Jack Russell-mixed mutt, almost a year ago and since then she’s been keeping our family busy, taking us for walks and arranging playdates. So very busy.

How was I to know that the same dog who greeted us for the first time by docilely flopping down at our feet, presenting us with her soft, pink underbelly would turn out to rival Perez Hilton in her intense need to meet, greet and butt-sniff every dog in the neighborhood?

I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the walking – it’s great exercise and all, but after a few trips around the block in a day I prefer to delegate the job.

I pulled a few pans of these Toffee Oatmeal Chip cookies from the oven and set them on the counter to cool, and like magic my children began to float around me like happy, dizzy dust motes. It occurred to me that I was in the position of ultimate power: Alpha Mom with Treats. Oh, you’d like a cookie? Walk the dog first.

Bingo! The lead was on Poppy’s collar and she was flying out the door with a child attached in two seconds flat.   A win-win for all parties. I love that!

Heidi Swanson was the inspiration for this particular cookie recipe. Her healthy cooking blog 101 Cookbooks is one of my favorite sites, and my copy of her cookbook Super Natural Cooking has pages falling out from over-use. One recipe I’d flagged and have been meaning to try is Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was intrigued by the recipe because it calls for an ingredient that I’d never heard of or seen before (gasp!) – mesquite flour.

It turns out that mesquite flour can be difficult to track down. Commonly used as a staple among Native Americans of the Southwest,  mesquite flour (also labeled mesquite powder or meal) is made from the ground fruit pods from mesquite trees and is said to be super-nutritious.  What got me interested is Heidi’s description of its flavor; smoky, malty, sweet and chocolate-like.

I didn’t get my hands on some until just recently; my friend L brought some back after scouting it out at the super-duper Whole Foods flagsip store in Austin. (An online source for mesquite meal is the Raw Guru site.)

I made a batch of the cookies, and really liked the toffee-like quality the mesquite flour added. Since Heidi recommends substituting an equal amount of flour in place of the mesquite,  I tweaked her recipe a bit to make it a bit more accessible – I realize that most (sane) people don’t go to such lengths to find an unfamiliar ingredient.

These cookies have a similar texture and taste, perfectly good bait for anyone you need to gently influence – wink.


Toffee Oatmeal Chip Cookies

Adapted from Heidi Swanson

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup stone-ground whole wheat flour

1/2 cup malted milk powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 cup chopped toffee (I used Heath brand)

1 cup chocolate chips (I like dark but use whatever you like)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees for at least 30 minutes before baking. Line 2 or 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment or reusable non-stick sheet like Silpat.

Combine the flours, malt powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the sugars, starting with the granulated sugar, beating until incorporated before adding the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until a thick dough forms.

Lower mixer speed to “stir” and add the oats, toffee and chocolate chips until evenly mixed. The dough should be dense and moist.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart to allow cookies to spread. Bake one sheet at a time for about 13 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Cool on the pan 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely, or until it’s time to walk the dog.

Yield: 3 – 4  dozen cookies



  1. Poppy is so cute!!

    re the recipe, is the malted milk powder the substitute for the mesquite flour?

  2. She’s is endearingly cute. She’s peeved at me right now because she just got a bath. She’s a big dog in a little body!

    Yes, I added the malt powder to give some of the sweet, toasted flavor of the mesquite, in addition to more flour. The original recipe also uses all whole wheat pastry flour instead of the blend in this recipe. If you can find the mesquite, refer to Heidi’s original recipe, using 1/12 cups of regular flour (or ww pastry flour if you have) and 1 cup of the mesquite.

  3. Oops, per the above comment, make that *2 1/2* cups regular flour, not 1 1/2, and omit the malt powder.

  4. These look great! And such a beautiful picture. The mesquite powder sound very interesting.

  5. Oh, my husband would LOVE these (as would I!)… thanks for posting this!

  6. I’m in such a cookie rut right now. Glad to see something more interesting!

  7. These sound awesome! I will so totally be buying some malt powder at the grocery store tomorrow so I can make some. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. These are an excellent bribe! mesquite flour sounds very interesting; i definitely want to try it! and poppy is adorable!

  9. Perfect- something sweet with a little nutrition thrown in!!

  10. Thanks for this recipe! I didn’t think I’d ever get to make these cookies because I haven’t seen mequite flour.

  11. Even with 1000s of blogs out there in the blogworld, I still love a great cookbook. I love to read them like a novel.

    Great packaging!

  12. Well, these cookies are delicious as I can attest as I am baking them as I type. I couldn’t find malted milk powder, but I substituted as best I could. The only thing I noticed about this recipe was you did not say where to add the flour mixture once you got the salt, soda, baking powder and all that together. For a beginning cook who wanted to make a great cookie this might be a difficult thing not knowing when you wanted them to add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar part.

  13. I live in Tucson and have ready access to mesquite bean pods. I’m collecting mesquite flour recipes and I came across this one of yours which I am going to try as soon as I finish cookies I’ve just made. The recipe called for guar gum. Is that common? Also I note that your recipe calls for half baking powder and half baking soda. Whereas other recipes call for only baking soda. What is the difference. Sometimes I think I can taste a trace of the backing soda in the background. Can I switch out baking powder for baking soda?

    Love your website lay out. Very classy.


  14. Even with 1000s of blogs out there in the blogworld, I still love a great cookbook. I love to read them like a novel.

    Great packaging!

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