Thursday, 6 December 2007

molasses cookies

My first memory of molasses is from childhood when my mom used to actually drink blackstrap molasses. She would have her cup of black motor oil looking goo, while I so dutifully practiced piano in the basement of our house. My mother was always there, telling me when I messed up and then would take a small, painful looking sip of her black goo. This was when she was pregnant with my sister and opted to go the natural route and give birth at home. Her midwife prescribed blackstrap molasses to help with her low iron levels. So there was little me hunched over the piano in our cold basement pounding out Mozart and Bach while my mother, big belly and all, drank molasses out of her coffee cup reading, "All that Jazz". Being a particular sort of child, I was always off in my own world daydreaming of Barbie, permed hair and anything glittery. To get me out of my daydream and onto what I was doing, my mother would often shout at me, "You're moving slow as molasses...hurry it up!". I imagine some of you heard similar things, hopefully not conditioning you to loathe molasses (or treacle depending on where you are from)

Many years later I encountered molasses again in a fruit cake recipe. I bought it, used it all and did not give a second thought to molasses. friend Carrie (pumpkin doughnuts partner in crime) saw some molasses cookies in a coffee shop the other day and asked me to make her some. I thought it was the most brilliant idea of something for me to bake in a long, long time.

I consulted many recipes for this one you see here, but not one suited me just right so I made my very own. Upon doing some research on molasses I found it's one of the most nutritional sweetners out there. High in potassium, calcium, vitamin B6 and as mentioned earlier, iron, it makes a perfect addition to sweets. It's slightly acidic and too much will over power your food, but just the right amount can add a wonderful depth to baked goods, not to mention good nutrition to boot!

Let me give you a little warning here, this dough it majorly sticky. Like, gorilla glue dough. I found it impossible to roll, cut into shapes, or do really anything but pry off a spoon and mold into a little ball. That being said, the taste and texture is absolutely right on and I refuse to change anything about the recipe just to make it more malleable. Besides, it's really fun to roll up your sleeves, grab some spoons and roll out little mounds of joy. Roll the edges on the greased pan so they are rounded, but it's OK to leave the tops a little spiky for a homemade effect. If you desire a more perfect looking smooth, rounded cookie, roll both the sides and top and bake with the greased side up. Sprinke a little turbinado sugar on the tops right after baking for a sparkling effect. Grab a cup of tea and you are set to go; especially if you are sitting on a comfy couch and a nice thunderstorm is roaring outside.

flour mixture:
5 C all-purpose flour
1 T aluminum free baking powder
1 T baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground mace (optional. could add some cinnamon too)

a handfull or so of turbinado sugar for sprinkling after baking (optional)

liquid mixture:
1 C organic unsulphered molasses
1 C vegan brown sugar
1/4 C coconut butter
scant 1 C vegan milk subsitute or water

sift together the flour mixture in a separate bowl and set aside

beat together coconut butter and brown sugar, about 1-2 minutes. add molasses slowly (slow as molasses...)mixture will turn into a nice shinny brown and will smell absolutely wonderful

slowly incorporate flour mixture into the liquid mixture, alternating flour and vegan milk to form a nice sticky dough

refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, up to a day

pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

plop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet making sure you round off the edges. i simply rolled the edges on the greased sheet and left the tops a little spiky

bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes

eat absolutely at once! will stay good in a covered container for a few days...if they last that long.

makes about 2-3 dozen, depending on size of cookie

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