Sunday, June 26, 2016
Molasses Butter Cookies
There are about four recipes in The Baking Bible where molasses is a primary flavor. On a scale of 1 to 10, molasses gets about a 4 from me, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to these cookies. On the other hand, they were from the Quick and Easy list, which is a point in anything's favor, especially on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
But I thought these cookies were seriously delicious. And if you make them with shortening, instead of browned butter, they'd be so fast and so simple you'd have a hard time believing they came from a Rose cookbook. (Well, there is the required cooling-off period. One hour in the refrigerator. I suppose if you were really in a hurry, you could ignore that, but I'm not recommending that you ignore any steps).
Besides liking the cookies a lot, I was also inordinately pleased with myself for finally getting the buerre noisette just right. I cooked the butter the normal amount of time - about 12 minutes - and then forced myself to keep the butter on the stove for another 3 minutes. It actually turned brown, and I had a whole strainer full of browned bits that I mixed in with the batter.
After the browned butter is cooled, you just mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and that's it!
Bake for four minutes and then turn the cookie pan. After the first four minutes, they're shaped kind of like an upside-down Reese's peanut butter cup,
They don't look promising at all. I wondered what I'd done wrong, and also wondered whether the two cute little chipmunks who have taken up residence in our garden would like botched molasses cookies. But after another four minutes, they looked just as they were supposed to look: flattened, cracked, and looking slightly underbaked. I was grateful for the warning that they'd look slightly underbaked. Otherwise, I'd have baked them a few minutes longer.
There's only a quarter-cup of molasses in these cookies, so that's less than 3 grams of molasses per cookie. And it's light molasses. So you're not overwhelmed by that strong, heavy molasses flavor. And Rose is right--they do have an extraordinary texture, with a delicate, crispy outside and a light but chewy interior. If you like milk and cookies, these would be very satisfying, I think, but they're even better with a cup of afternoon cappuccino.
The only thing I might change next time would be to try regular granulated sugar to roll the cookie dough in. The superfine was barely visible and so fine that it didn't add to the textural contrasts. But that would be a very minor change.