Friday, June 10, 2011

Molasses Jumbles

The Cooky Book says this recipe is from the days of WWII, when butter and sugar were rationed. This recipe gets most of its sweetness from molasses, which is actually the ingredient used in the greatest quantity after flour. While the picture accompanying the recipe shows this cookie is no beauty queen, these cookies do pretty well for being so low in shortening and sugar.
Betty's Molasses Jumbles...not as pretty as mine were!
Molasses Jumbles
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp shortening
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup molasses
3 ½ cups flour
1 Tbsp soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 375̊F. Cream shortening and sugar, then stir in molasses. Stir the dry ingredients together; blend into the dough alternately with cold water. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough 2 to 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Spiced Molasses Jumbles
Make Molasses Jumbles except blend ½ tsp each of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon in with dry ingredients.

Lemon Molasses Jumbles
Make Molasses Jumbles, except stir in grated rind of one lemon (about 1 Tbsp) with the molasses.

Frosted Molasses Jumbles
Bake Molasses Jumbles. Spread with Butter Icing while still warm.

Butter Icing
2 ½ Tbsp soft butter
1 ½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ Tbsp cream
¾ tsp vanilla
Blend sugar and butter together; then stir in the cream and vanilla until the icing is smooth.

What do you know about molasses? Prior to making these cookies, I knew very little… So I had no idea what to say when Ryan stopped on his way home from work to pick up molasses for me and called to ask which kind I wanted. Betty made no indication in this recipe that a certain type of molasses should be used, so I went for Full Flavor- sounds like it would make a tasty cookie, right?

According to the Brer Rabbit Molasses website, the difference between the types of molasses is due to the number of times sugar cane juice is boiled to extract sugar. Mild molasses has been boiled once; it is lighter in color and sweeter because less sugar has been extracted. Full Flavor has been boiled twice, making it a little darker and less sweet. Blackstrap molasses has been boiled three times, making it significantly darker than Mild molasses and giving it a strong bitter flavor.

And did you know that brown sugar is really just regular sugar with a little molasses mixed into it? I learned a lot making these cookies. =D

So there you have it! Full Flavor worked quite well in these cookies, and as the middle-of-the-road molasses, I will probably use that kind again when a recipe calls for molasses.

For this recipe, I made standard, Spiced, Frosted, and Frosted Spiced Molasses Jumbles (basically, I just didn’t try the lemon variation). The book warns "Don't be alarmed at amount of baking soda; it makes the cooky more tender"... so don't worry about there being a whole tablespoon in there. I baked these for 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet, and they seemed just right. The cookies were quite cakey and not too sweet, but also not bland because of the molasses flavor. I preferred the Spiced Molasses Jumbles and thought the cookies were actually better without the frosting.  Perhaps molasses just isn’t everyone’s favorite flavor, or maybe it’s because they didn’t look pretty enough, but I ended up eating most of these myself. My waistline hopes the next recipe is more popular!
Frosted or unfrosted, they made a great treat on my break at work!

Get ready for Jubilee Jumbles!

This cooky recipe and picture were found on page 10 of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book; the icing recipe can be found on page 150.