Sunday, December 12, 2010

Molasses & Cloves.

I have never been able to follow a recipe. Not exactly; not precisely. This is probably why many of my baking attempts fail. Damn this part of me that always has to be different. A soup recipe -- well, now that is made to be amended. But baked goods, gluten free baked goods, require the precisions of a scale (even though we all know, that yes, they lie).

I refuse to get a scale, and still use my mom's measuring cups she gave me when I went off to college. I think she got them at Goodwill. One is a little dented from all of my moving. This does not help precision, these dents. There is some small cubic part missing, which is why I compensate by heaping the top, just a bit.

Maybe I get this from my Grandma Ida. Watching her cook is like magic -- she, a sorceress who throws things in a pot, pinching ingredients as she feels, here and there, "add a scoch," she says...and it all turns out beautifully. I don't know if she has ever followed a recipe...exactly.

Cooking, I am learning, is an art. And, while art may should not duplicate. By the same principle, I have always despised paint-by-numbers. I remember, even as a kid, thinking..."You want me to put that color where?" And then my independent streak would defiantly paint the apple orange.

I apparently haven't grown out of this. "It says 1 tsp. cinnamon?" Nah, not enough. I'll double that. Crème fraiche? Not on hand...I'll use yogurt....that's ok, right...?

It really makes cooking more exciting when you don't know it will turn out. It's more of an adventure, if cooking can be that -- adventurous. Which, is maybe why I didn't like it in the first place, this cooking thing. It's planned, it's too safe...and other people have made, and are making, the exact same thing. God forbid. And I don't like that feeling. When, you throw things in, mix & match, and it actually turns out edible -- that is satisfying. And, if it doesn't turn out, you have dark chocolate with afternoon coffee and popcorn for dinner. This is satisfying too.

My sister bought Molasses Clove Cookies a few weeks ago. Now, I'm not a huge cookie fan, but I couldn't stop thinking about molasses and cloves. I love molasses and cloves. And Erica loved these cookies. By the time I saw the package, half had been eaten. This was, I'm sure, one of the benefits of having a gluten-free house never have to share your cookies.

I learned several things in making these cookies today. First being, I am still not really a cookie person. I never have been, never will be. Followed by the fact that I seem unable roll the cookies into the same size and have no patience for sheet after sheet of this process.

But, the imitated recipe worked and the cookies were edible.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling the dough

I still will probably have some dark chocolate with my afternoon coffee though...


  1. Popcorn for dinner...been there. I so love reading your stuff...

  2. Jay, thank you...

    E2, you are just on a sugar high...I SAW how many cookies you were snatching off Kristin's counter tonight...

  3. Remember when I used to make those chocolate chip cookies and no longer had patience and they ALL became chocolate chip bar cookies?

    The molasses cookies I had while growing up were bar cookies as well, you cut them after they come out of the oven. I have often thought that I should try making them using combo of nut flours. They were delicious but dried out after a few days with real flour - all the inherent oils of the nut flours would keep them soft, I should think. Must try sometime soon!

  4. Yes...yes, I remember! And I remember Christina and Nora's obsession with those chocolate chip honey bar thing-a-ma-jigs. I need to switch over to bars. Yes, I think so...

    Speaking of nut flours...I also tried baking with chestnut flour today. THAT was a miserable, horrible failure. I shan't repeat it. Wild and wacky stuff, chestnut flour. I'm puzzled by it...

  5. Note to self. Christmas gift idea for you. New measuring cups and spoons possibly red for the "journey".

  6. I remember a cookie from childhood that was molasses based. They were frosted and I always took an extra one or two for the adventure of it. You would make the dough and then roll it into big long tubes and refrigerate them. Later you would slice them in thick even rings and pop them in the oven to bake and then frost while still warm. As a kid it always reminded me rolling out and cutting Play-doh.