Like Molasses in… September

Before teeing off on the 8th hole yesterday, I flashed back to my mom’s molasses cookies. I don’t have her recipe, but as she was always a Betty Crocker kinda gal I found Betty’s recipe, made some this morning and they were exactly as I remembered!

(Betty’s recipe didn’t say, but I flattened the sugar coated balls a little. They may have flattened on their own, but I was concerned the centers and the edges may not cook evenly. Whatever the reason, they were excellent!)

Now, this may be childhood folklore or faulty memories, but growing up I had a neighbor named Betty Crocker. That was her married name after she and George wed. As a single woman her last name was Taylor, and of course her formal first name was Elizabeth but was known as Betty. Even without this celebrity, I was raised in a fabulous neighborhood and remain friends with MOST of my classmates from that time. So fortunate.

Soft Molasses Cookies

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• ¾ cup shortening
• ¼ cup molasses
• 1 egg
• 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.
  2. Shape dough by rounded tablespoonfuls into 1 ½ – inch balls. Dip tops into granulated sugar. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls, sugared sides up, about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or just until set and cookies appear dry. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Expert Tips From Betty Crocker

o Purchase shortening formed in oblong packages marked for easy cutting and measuring. It eliminates messy measuring in cups.
o There are reasons for using shortening versus butter when mixing up a cookie dough. Shortening has a higher melting point, so cookies will hold their shape longer in the oven before the fat melts in the dough (and shortening doesn’t release any steam like butter) so results in moist, chewy cookies. While butter melts more quickly and releases some steam so that cookies will spread more and be crisper, with a distinctly buttery flavor. Some recipes use a combination of the two fats.
o There is enough fat in these tender cookies that they won’t stick to the baking sheets. But for easier clean-up, line the baking sheets with baking parchment. The parchment can be used several times before composting or recycling it.
o What type of molasses should you keep in your pantry? Choices include light, cooking, unsulphured and blackstrap. Each style is a by-product of the sugar making process and offer mild to robust levels of flavor in baked goods. A good all-purpose molasses is an unsulphured one, made from sun-ripened sugar cane; it has a full, smooth flavor without being bitter.
o Measuring flour accurately is key in baking. Stir flour a bit before spooning into measuring cup then level off top using a flat-edge utensil such as a knife.

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