Cola molasses cookies

It’s only my favourite thing in the world.

 

I love Coke. I like the way the curved glass bottle fits my hand, I like how frost rimes the neck of the bottle, and my ears perk up when I hear a bottle being opened. I love how Coke tastes, and the way it fizzes going down. I also love molasses cookies and wondered if the two flavours were complimentary. I’ve wanted to try this for awhile.

Efforts to secure Coca-Cola extract failed, so I ordered some of LorAnn’s Cola flavouring and added it to molasses cookies. Afraid to use too much extract, I added 5 drops to a basic molasses recipe, and voila.

So how did it taste?

 

It was weird. You could smell the cola, but when you bit into the cookie, it was very faint. It almost tasted like the cookies had cola hot spots, some bites had a wallop of flavour, and some you couldn’t taste it at all. (Perhaps I under-mixed the batter?)

I wasn’t overly sold on the cookie recipe I started with, so I’m going to tinker around with it.

 

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Pennsylvania-Dutch brownies

More of a spice cake than a brownie, made with molasses and a subtle chocolate flavour. 

This recipe is also from Good Housekeeping Brownies: favourite recipes for Blondies, Bars & Brownies, which is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Time required: 3 hrs (1 hour prep + 2 hour cooling)

Yields: 30 pieces

Cost per brownie: $1.10

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $33.00

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 9 x 13″
  • tinfoil

Ingredients:

  • 4 TBSP butter, room temp
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • ¼ C molasses
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1½ C flour
  • 1 C + 2 TSP granulated white sugar (used in separate stages)
  • 1 TSP + ⅛ TSP ground cinnamon (used in separate stages)
  • 1 TSP ground ginger
  • ½ TSP ground cloves
  • ½TSP baking soda
  • ½ TSP salt

Instructions:

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 190°C / 357°F.  Line the baking pan with foil, and grease foil.

Step 2 – In a sauce pan on Low, melt chocolate and butter.  (Um, I wasn’t really thinking this through and used a small bowl in the microwave instead.  Since you will later add the dry ingredients to the chocolate, you may want to use a larger bowl.)

Step 3 – Stir in molasses, then eggs, one at time.

Step 4 – Combine in a bowl: flour, 1 C sugar, 1 TSP cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt.

Step 5 – Stir the dry mixture into the wet.  I moved the wet mixture into a large bowl, then added the dry mix, one third at a time. (At this point I wondered if the batter consistency was off because of the unorthodox way I prepared it.)

Step 6 – “pour” batter into prepared pan. Humph. More like scoop and smoosh. Slightly concerned now, batter very thick, sitting in pan unevenly, does not reach all sides of the pan.

Step 7 – Bake 15-17 minutes.  Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted 1 inch from the edges comes out cleanly.

Step 8 – While this is baking, in a small bowl combine 2 TSP white sugar and ⅛ cinnamon.  As soon as pan is removed from oven, sprinkle sugar mix on top, then cool on rack (in pan) 2 hours.

Hmmm.  Is it supposed to look like this?  Is the bottom right corner supposed to be overloaded with sugar?  Will the rest be bitter?  We’ll see!

Step 9 – Peel off tinfoil, slice lengthwise in 3 strips, slice crosswise in 5 strips, then cut each piece diagonally.

I made a green tea latte and sampled a brownie.

Verdict: Hmmm.  These weren’t bad, but not what I expected either. Then again, since I’ve never eaten Pennsylvania-Dutch anything, maybe my expectations were skewed. I found that the molasses overpowered the taste of the chocolate though.

I was surprised to see the price of the spices is what pushed the total cost so high, but I suppose that makes sense considering spices have been such a hot commodity (hah, get it?) for thousands of years. Guess some things never change.

Playlist: Final Fantasy soundtracks

Gingerbread top loaf

There are times in life when one hits the jack pot, and I am reminded of this  whenever I open to door to Mom’s house and the warm, sharp scent of a ginger loaf wafts out. This smell alerts a primal area of my brain that soon I will be enjoying tea, a warm piece of ginger loaf, juicy gossip, and fending off questions about Boyfriend.

Alas for me, I do not get to visit Mom’s house often. Time gives perspective and city living certainly has some amazing advantages, but now that I’ve been Away for 4.5 years, I’ve realized that there are some things I will never find up here, such as homemade goods. <sad face>

Luckily I just spent 2 weeks visiting home; and aside from the simple pleasures of getting to know my new niece and listening to Grandpa’s stories, I enjoyed numerous tasty treats!! I’ve been back in the city for a few days, and this weekend I decided the first thing I would bake would be Mom’s gingerbread loaf.

Oh, how innocently it began!

Good to know before you start: if you are feeling congested this is a great dish to make, it clears out your sinuses like you wouldn’t believe

Time required: 2.5 hours (30 min prep, 40 min baking, then cool)

Yields: 16 pieces or more

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $26.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • pastry blender
  • baking pan 9″ x 9″

Ingredients:

  • ½ C shortening
  • ½ C granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1 C molasses
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 2¼ C flour
  • 1½ TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP ginger, ground
  • 1 TSP cinnamon, ground
  • ½ TSP cloves, ground

Step 1 – pre-heat oven 177°C / 350°F. Boil water in the kettle.

Step 2 – grease and flour a 9″ x 9″ pan. Hmm. Something seems odd.

Step 3 – in a small bowl combine: flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

I used a wire whisk to blend the dry ingredients, and before I measured the molasses, I sprayed a light coat of Pam into the measuring cup. (Works like a charm when you’re dealing with sticky ingredients like this or peanut butter.)

Step 4- in a large bowl, cream shortening, sugar, and egg, until fluffy.

In retrospect I’m not sure if a pastry blender was the best idea for this, it was a bit lumpy.

Step 5 – add molasses to wet mixture and beat in well.

Step 6- stir in boiling water.

Step 7 – add dry mixture to wet.

Step 8 – pour mixture into baking pan, bake 45 min. Remove loaf from pan.

Step 9 – cool on rack for at least one hour. This is the moment everything fell apart. Much cursing was done.

I examined the part that remained in the pan. It wasn’t burnt, just stuck. I used a spatula to remove it, and tried setting it in place, which was a bad idea.

So I took the bottom part back off, hence “top loaf”. And you know, it smelled right, and it looked right (until it came out of the pan). That’s when I realized I used the wrong size pan.

Verdict: What a nightmare. The top side of the loaf was slightly overdone, it had a faint crispness that should not have been there, when ginger loaf is done correctly it’s got the same consistency of banana bread. I assume this was caused by the dough being spread too thin by the length of the pan.

Boyfriend and his friend tested it, and said it was good, but I know I can do better. I was so discouraged, this is the 4th cake/loaf-type thing I’ve made in recent months that fell apart, all that effort and care gone to waste.  Maybe I’ll try this again tomorrow in the proper pan.