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Eclecticisms: Mmmolasses Crinkles

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mmmolasses Crinkles

"The best cooky of 1930-1935"! (Or so Betty Crocker's "Cooky Book"  tells me.) This is the same book I got my lemon bar recipe from, and so far, so good. I used my cookbook, but the recipe can be found here, too. Molasses Crinkles

Molasses cookies are my favorite, but these turned out fatter than I had hoped. (The ones I made years ago were very thin and chewy... I'm thinking it must have been a different recipe?) I learned a couple of interesting lessons while making these, and want to give them another try sometime soon to see if a couple of tweaks will produce better cookies the next time around.

Before I go any further, I have to share the exciting news that I have a new blender! Ok, not new. Still from the 50's (ish?), but new to me. I found it in the house and, like my other blender, it had belonged to the woman who lived here before me. I felt it only fitting to name my two girls. I named my first mixer Martha, and I am pleased to introduce to you...

Betty!



I gave Betty a try for this recipe, and she didn't disappoint. I like this blender for several reasons. First, the bigger bowl works well with the mixers. My other blender (Martha) doesn't make it to the edges when I use the bigger bowl, and lots of ingredients get lost off on the side. I still plan to use it and love the smaller bowl, but I'm going to be using this "new" one for awhile. Another feature I LOVE, is that I can unplug it either from the wall or from the blender itself. It's a quick and easy way to make sure no power is attached when I'm cleaning off the mixers; Knowing my clumsiness, it was only a matter or time before I tore a few fingers off.





Check it out!

Now for the cookie of the hour.... Molasses Crinkles! (I noticed that the same exact recipe is on the back of the Grandma's Molasses jar, in case you don't want to write or print it out.)

Did you know that Molasses comes from sugar cane, and is the by-product of what we know as "regular" sugar? The first boiling produces a lighter molasses, and the molasses continues to get darker with each boiling, as more of the sugar has been removed.

I started out really excited, thinking I would make one batch with regular white (granulated) sugar and another with raw sugar. Imagine my dissapointment when I saw it only called for brown! Still... you dip the tops in white, so I mixed and matched there to tide me over for now. (Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses present. The more molasses, the darker the sugar.)

You start by mixing the shortening, egg, sugar and molasses...



...then add in all dry ingredients. Once again, I felt like the dough was too dry. I might start to under add flour by just a pinch, and add the remaining amount once I am certain the dough is ready for it! I'm also going to try another brand of flour... I think what I have is generic. (Note: I find, especially in baking, that generic is fine. If I find the opposite to be true here, I'll let everyone know!) There are several ways to measure flour, and I have been using the "dipping method". I'm moving onto another method where you spoon the flour into the measuring cup and do not dip the cup into the bag directly. See here for more info.



The recipe didn't specify how long to chill the dough for, so I called an expert (my Momma!) and she suggested an hour, which is what I went with.

After the dough is chilled, you roll it into balls (the recipe calls for 1 1/4" but I'm going to try smaller next time to see if the cookies turn out any thinner), dip them in sugar and then place them on a greased baking sheet (I was skeptical about the greased part since these cookies have shortening, but I'll get more to that later), sugar side up.

Dippin' time!

I haven't figured out why yet, but after that you sprinkle the cookies with a few drops of water, and pop them in the oven.

Here's where the real fun began.

As I wiped down my table and started cleaning up, I noticed a not so pleasant smell in the kitchen. Now, half the fun in baking is enjoying the rich, warm aromas as they fill your home. This was more like the smell of a house fire. After only 2 minutes I opened the oven to find SMOKE. If you make these cookies, do not, I repeat, DO NOT grease the pans! What a fiasco! The butter had already turned most of the cookies' bottoms black. Nice.

Out of the oven the 3 pans came, off came the cookies, the pans were washed, and I started again. I only put 6 cookies in to begin, to make sure the smoking wasn't going to continue. Nope! They turned out great. With the rest of the cookies in, I went out ot the living room to watch some TV. After about 10 minutes (they take about 12 to cook) I went back to take a peek and they were... raw? Apparently I inadvertently turned off the oven after taking those first cookies out. Damn! I turned it back on and cooked them another 10 minutes, that proved just a couple of minutes too long. Given the circumstances, I didn't feel too horrible. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done on many of these cookies, and the bottoms were burnt. BUT- they still taste ok, which made me not feel too bad.


Who likes burnt cookies?


They weren't all bad...

After couple of days, these cookies are getting pretty hard. Hopefully with another try using changes mentioned above, the outcome will be a bit different next time. My faithful taste-testers enjoyed the flavor, and that has to count for something, right?

Bed time! This weekends projects: Blueberry cake and Mint Creme Espresso cupcakes. Leslie and I have challenged each other, each picking a baking recipe for the other to try. Mine is pretty intense. Stay tuned for updates, and wish me luck!

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