Molasses

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March 23, 2010 by ritadate

Heirloom Molasses Cake, Pecan Pie and Molasses Ginger Cookies
I remember molasses from my trips to India. I would love my morning dosas and idlis with this sweet gooey liquid. It is called pathal gawd( liquid jaggery) in Konkani and that is exactly what it is. The taste is distinct and very different from maple syrup as it is at times mistaken for. Its properties give it versatility and it can be used in many baked items such as cakes, cookies and breads.

Molasses is the English name but the funny thing is I never had it in the US. Dosas and idlis were always eaten with chutney or something spicy. I think my mother was keeping me away from sugar or she never knew it was readily available.

It is not an ingredient used very commonly in Pune. Maharashtrians do not generally cook with it and use it only to eat along with chapattis and that too rarely. Molasses is byproduct of sugar cane. Juice is extracted from the canes and then crushed and mashed and sugar cane juice is extracted, and then boiled to a concentrate.

Unlike table sugar molasses has nutritional properties similar to jaggery. It is high in iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. The unique taste of molasses makes it an interesting ingredient to use in baking.
Do not limit it to baking, keep this ingredient handy for other uses. You can also add it to oatmeal instead of sugar. If you are in habit of eating honey with dosas then this is an alternative. With no fat, used moderately the benefits of molasses outweigh the negatives when compared to aspartame or saccharin. A spoonful in baked beans also gives a sweet punch to the beans. Molasses is also use in marinating and basting chicken.

Enjoy these treats:

Heirloom Molasses Cake –This cake is easy and a crowd pleaser. It tastes great with a cup of coffee. Taken from http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup lard
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 level teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/4 cups strong, black coffee at room temperature

Method
Equipment: 1 cake pan 9 x 13 inches, buttered and floured.

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Cream together sugar, molasses and lard.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and baking soda.
Cool 1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) strong, black coffee to room temperature.
Combine the dry mixture with the lard/sugar/molasses mixture.
While combining, slowly add the black coffee and stir vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed and a smooth batter is formed.
Pour into prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Test with a toothpick or table knife.

Pecan Pie –If you cannot find pecans, substitute with walnuts. Most pecan pie recipes use corn syrup but molasses is the perfect alternative in terms of taste as well as nutrition. Adpated from http://www.pecanpierecipe.com/

Ingredients –
1 (9 inch) Pie Shell –see recipe below for a flaky crust
3/4 cup White Sugar
3/4 cup molasses
3 Eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 pinch Salt
1 cup chopped Pecans

Preparation:
1. Combine sugar, molasses, eggs, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add pecans and coat nuts well.
3. pour pecan pie filling into pie shell.
4. Bake 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, check to see if piecrust is getting too brown, if so cover edges with foil.
5. Do not overbake. Remove when pie filling is firm around edges, slightly soft but set in center.

Use this recipe for Flaky Pie Crust  from http://www.suite101.com/

Molasses Ginger Cookies–Taken from http://www.cooks.com
Ingredients
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 1/4 c. sugar, divided
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
1 lg. egg
1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
2 tsp. grated orange peel

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda and spices together. Beat 1 cup sugar with butter and shortening until light. Add egg, molasses and orange peel; beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and beat until combined. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Roll dough between hands into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool before storing.

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