Did you play Candy Land as a child? Did you ever get stuck in the Molasses Swamp? I did and that’s precisely when my mother would make some offhanded comment about being slower than molasses in January. Don’t you totally hate that Gloppy the Molasses Monster has somehow morphed into the Chocolate Monster? What’s wrong with teaching children about the delicious, rummy, cane-sugary facets of molasses? Okay, maybe not the rum part, but molasses cookies were my favorite as a child and remain my favorite as an adult. If they are going to keep Lord Licorice, which incidentally would make a great porn star name for an overly endowed African-American man, why not keep Gloppy the Molasses Monster? Kids don’t even like the taste of black licorice. Poor original Gloppy. He’s overqualified and now unemployed like 12.5 million other Americans.
On another note of things sadly discontinued, can we discuss Gourmet magazine and how I packed an entire box full of about 5 years’ worth of subscriptions the last time I moved? After my subscription-hoarding ceased and I picked up the giant Gourmet cookbook, I would still peruse the magazine aisle looking for the holiday issue with all the unique cookie recipes. One November, I couldn’t find it and I knew. I just knew that it was gone forever. Then I was really mad at myself for downsizing my magazine collection. Tonight, I’d like to give a shout-out to the dearly departed Gloppy the Molasses Monster and Gourmet (although you can still follow the online version of Gourmet and the former editor, Ruth Reichl, on Twitter at @GourmetLive and @ruthreichl, respectively). The recipe below is always a hit for the holidays and beyond.
Lady Sensory’s Homage to Gloppy and Gourmet – Molasses Crinkles
(adapted from a recipe submitted to Gourmet in December, 2004)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable shortening at room temp
½ stick (¼ cup) butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
½ cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
1 tsp vanilla (optional, but I always throw some in)
Approx 1/3 cup sanding or granulated sugar (for tops of cookies – but the best is really turbinado sugar because it really makes them sparkle)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Original recipe calls for 375 degrees but I always go a little lower.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and salt in bowl until combined. Beat together shortening, butter and brown sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and molasses, beating until combined. Gradually mix in flour mixture a little at a time until combined. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a 1 inch ball with wet hands (dough is sticky) and dip half the ball in sanding sugar, place balls on ungreased cookie sheet sugared side up, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until undersides are golden brown. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Makes about 30 cookies. These are just the right combination of chewy and crispy. If you want a really tasty summer treat, make ice cream sandwiches with them. Enjoy!