Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Molasses Cookies, Molasses Making, Molasses Folklore

Sometimes you just get a craving for something. For me the something was molasses cookies. Big soft, raisin-y molasses cookies. Today it is rainy and thundery and chilly, perfect for baking.

I found the recipe I wanted in Joy of Cooking, after a search through my recipe box and two favorite cookie cookbooks. I altered it slightly and they came out just as I envisioned, plump and soft and spicy.

Here's how I made them:

Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Beat til soft:  1/2 cup butter. (I used light butter because that's what we had. I guess Larry bought it.)

Add gradually until light and creamy: 1/2 cup white granulated sugar.

Beat in: 1 egg, 1/2 cup molasses. I used sorghum molasses, my favorite for cooking.

Have ready: 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 2% milk with a teaspoon of vinegar added).

Sift together: (I did't sift) 2/12 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose flour), 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp each cinnamon and ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp salt.

Add the sifted ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 3 parts to the molasses mixture.

Beat til smooth after each addition (I had to add about 1/2 cup self-rising flour because the dough seemed too wet for cookies).

Add 1/2 cup raisins if desired. Drop by a teaspoon on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-12 minutes.

The recipe said it would make 40 2" cookies. I got about 30, but some of mine were pretty big.


Now if you want to know how to make sorghum molasses, check out this post I wrote almost 10 years ago.

For a new twist on fishing (with molasses) check out this story.

Molasses featured in a variety of old folk remedies. Some swore by molasses mixed with sulphur and taken internally to cure "the itch" whatever that may have been. Others say this remedy will cure worms, also something I care not to think about.

It was also used to make a natural laxative: "“Old fashioned laxative recipe by Nurse Brown, Sanford Mills”: ½ pound each: figs, prunes, dates; 2 cups molasses; 2 ounces powdered Senna. Put figs, prunes, dates through coarse meat grinder. Mix powdered Senna with molasses. Then add ground fruit and mix good. (Take night and morning until relieved)." From the What Grammy Knew blog.

There are, according to this website, many health advantages to blackstrap molasses.

I remember the old-timers around here talking about drinking Switchel when working in the hayfield. As I recall, they used a mixture of vinegar, sorghum molasses and water, but here is a more complicated and probably tastier recipe.

More molasses recipes at Brer Rabbit Molasses' page! But I think their molasses might be the dark blackstrap kind. I'll use their recipes, but stick with my sorghum 👩

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Michelle said...

Excellent!!! We have a couple of local families who still make molasses. Our PE teacher, (I teach 2nd grade), made a small batch of molasses last year and made us all cookies.

Quinn said...

Your cookies look so tasty! I make a soft molasses cookie that I call "Autumn Cookies," so I guess that's a clue as to when I feel like baking them ;)

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