Wednesday, January 2, 2013

molasses madness

did you know that if you boil molasses at least three times it is called blackstrap and loses all its sweetness? i mean the robust molasses i got from grandma's molasses was pretty darn unsweet (think burnt sugar, it was also the color of burnt sugar) but this stuff makes unbelievable ginger cookies w/ some spice fun. i'm having too much fun w this molasses stuff. and on wikipedia. haha. someone stop me!

gingerbread cookies are probably in my top 3 cookies (i think chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin round out my top three, although right now i'm on such a baking high i can't even think of another kind of cookie...oh boy, someone stop me)

but i used simply recipe's molasses spice recipe b/c after reading that i should chill the dough overnight for gingerbread men, i went for the more instantaneous gratification :). these babies don't look anything like simply recipe's version, no crackle, no poof, but my sisters called them "crack cookies" so i guess that was a ringing endorsement. good thing i had lots of coworkers to share the drug addiction with. the dough was very sticky and the cookies puddled out to be very thin (it was an all around vote that the cookies baked on the silpat were much nicer than those on the aluminum foil- more crisp but in a light airy way). these cookies are very delicious! gingery, buttery with a nice rich flavor which i'm thinking comes from the combination of all the spices with the molasses (nom nom). the only change i made to the recipe was using raw sugar in place of brown sugar (i still can't find my brown sugar from thanksgiving so i think i'm on strike for buying more until it shows itself). i also made these cookies much smaller to get about 4-5 dozen cookies. these cookies spread, so only put about 8 cookies per cookie sheet. bake about 5-6 minutes.

today, got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic right on my way home from work (i'm hoping this wasn't remnants from new year's eve fun and people forgot how to drive) but i passed 3 accidents. so de-stressing meant thinking about cookies to bake- aka, tool around with the cookie recipe to make it healthier and also more cakey (i like my cookies crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside!)

for the 2nd version i took out an entire stick of butter, 1/4 c of the sugar (the raw sugar), and put in two large spoonfuls of plain yogurt. the dough still came out incredibly wet and i had an even harder time rolling it in sugar (it was more a ploop into the sugar bowl then covering it in sugar and balling it up and shaking off as much sugar as possible). but these cookies were much poofier and cakier. also, less greasy. which i appreciated. these need to bake a bit longer to get the crisp on the outside, about 7-8 minutes is perfect texture in my opinion. 

in case you didn't get enough molasses in your life, i got one more goodie for you- spice molasses pumpkin bread adapted from circle b kitchen who adapted it from bon appetit. i made quite a few changes (out of pure laziness of not wanting to get more ingredients and nutritional preferences). plus, i only made 1 loaf.

Spiced Molasses Pumpkin Bread (1 loaf)

1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c plain yogurt
1/4 c robust molasses (I used Grandma's Molasses)
1 large egg
10 oz pumpkin puree
1.5 c flour
1/2 tsp group allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c raisins
1/2 c toasted walnuts, chopped
sprinkle of raw sugar, optional but recommended

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one loaf pan.

Mix the sugar, yogurt, pumpkin and molasses in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the egg.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, spices, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture in two additions. Mix in the walnuts and raisins.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake 40-50 minutes.

since i took out all the fat from the recipe the sprinkled sugar on top helps to give the bread some crust. this bread is delish- moist from the pumpkin and raisins and the toasted walnuts fit perfectly with it. eummm, too bad i'm not as productive about the rest of my life when i get stuck in traffic. happy baking :) i really need to stop baking late at night so you can see the actual yummy color of the food!

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