Mrs. Buerschaper’s Molasses Crinkles

Vegetal Matters - Molasses Crinkle CookiesThere are a lot of cookies and recipes circulating right now. I don’t have quite the obsession with Christmas cookies that the rest of the world seems to this time of year. But if you’re going to twist my arm into making some, they will most likely be my Grandma Buer’s Molasses Crinkles. These cookies are the Buerschaper family’s claim to culinary fame. My dad’s family grew up next door to chef and cookbook author Mollie Katzen, who included my grandmother’s recipe in her book Still Life with Menu and calls it the first dessert she loved that didn’t have chocolate in it.

The smell of molasses always makes me think of my grandmother, and I make them every year not just for nostalgia, but also because they are a truly excellent cookie. The dough is is soft and almost velvety, and comes together quickly with the most basic equipment and technique (mix wet, mix dry, mix together). Then each cookie ball is rolled in sugar, so the baked cookies have a crunchy, cracked exterior. Inside though they are the perfect cookie chewiness and deliciously spiced.

Vegetal Matters - Molasses Crinkle CookiesVegetal Matters - Molasses Crinkle CookiesVegetal Matters - Molasses Crinkle CookiesVegetal Matters - Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Mrs. Buerschaper’s Molasses Crinkles

2-3 dozen cookies. If you roll the dough into 1.5″ balls, yield is 2 dozen 3″ cookies. 1″ balls yield 3 dozen 2″ cookies. I also included weights for dry goods if you’re baking with a scale.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (3 oz) molasses
  • 1 cup (7 oz) sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup (4.25 oz) white flour
  • 1 cup (4 oz) wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup additional sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350F and prep 2 cookie sheets. Whisk melted butter, molasses, and 1 cup of sugar. Add in egg and whisk until incorporated. In another bowl sift together all dry ingredients except the last 1/4 cup of sugar. Add mixed dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until combined with no flour pockets. Pour the sugar onto a small plate, then using your hands form the dough into 1-1.5″ balls (see head note for sizes and quantities). Roll each ball in the sugar until it is entirely coated, then place a dozen spaced evenly on each cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are cracked and firm. Move to a rack to cool.

Vegetal Matters - Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Kitchen gear everyone needs

I love kitchen gear, but only to an extent. I don’t like having many items that only serve one purpose. My goal is to have a well curated collection of things that I use constantly. These are a few items missing from the rest of the internet’s kitchen gift suggestions that I use daily. I did link to specific examples, but I’m not married to any brand for these (except the pot, because that’s a sale item). There are lots of options, so look around.

gear

Canning Funnel – Don’t can? You still need this funnel. Funnels in general are awesome. I do use this one for canning, but I reached for it so much I moved it out of the box of canning stuff and into an everyday drawer. I use it constantly for transferring things that are not straight liquid into containers (beverages! soup! granola! flour!). Definitely get metal, best for hot uses.

Mesh Produce Bags – I keep a bunch of these in my grocery bag and use them for buying produce and bulk items so I don’t have to get a plastic bag for every kind of fruit or vegetable I buy (which can be many….).

Kitchen Scale – These babies are life changing. I use them for measuring dry goods for baking (just zero after every ingredient! so exact! fewer dishes!), truly knowing I have 6 oz of mushrooms when that is what the recipe calls for, and just being more exact in general because weight is always more reliable than volume. And maybe every once in a while I weigh mail to see how many stamps I need.

pot

Cast Iron Dutch Oven – In my ideal world, I would have a beautiful set of vintage Le Creuset pots in a snappy color. Unfortunately every other cook has this same dream. New ones are prohibitively expensive for most, and used ones are still pricey. I was trolling West Elm because I had a gift card and found this gem on sale. No, it doesn’t have the vintage warmth of a Creuset, but it is a beast of a pot and $49.99 for 5.5 quarts is amazing (just for the black). In my other ideal world (slightly less ideal than the Le Creuset world) I would have gotten white or red, but paying an extra $30 for a color is a level of crazy I thankfully am not. My one complaint about this pot is it is so heavy I can’t lift it with one arm, but that means I just need to do more push ups.

Look! Using two of my favorite things together! (Putting away some mushroom soup)

in use

PS – Do you hate gift guides? Even this one? These could be more your taste: Gift Guide: Foodies and Gift Guide: Witches and Wizards

Cookbooks for you and other people

The internet is currently a cacophony of  gift suggestions, and I can’t help but add my own shouts to the mix. I will never tire of receiving cookbooks (though my bookshelves very well could). My collection of cookbooks outweighs me and each have their own special spot on the bookshelf, but I keep turning to a select few repeatedly. These are five of my favorites and I feel so strongly about adding to other people’s collections that I gift them myself.

Flour CoverFlour by Joanne Chang. I’ve written about how great this cookbook is before, and my fuzzy feelings have only grown since then. Chang’s recipes can be complicated, but the instructions are the most thorough that I’ve read in any cookbook. If you follow along, the recipes are foolproof and serious show stoppers. (and for those who already have Flour, there is Flour, too, which includes salads, soups, sandwiches, and dinners along with the amazing desserts)

Flour open

Basics CoverHow to Cook Everything: The Basics by Mark Bittman Sometimes, I don’t like looking up recipes on the internet. I just want to be able to open up a book from a trusted source and find exactly what I want (I’m needy, I know). For this exact purpose I have How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Basics. I’m recommending Basics here because it is an excellent beginner book with photos and thorough tutorials, and a far less overwhelming amount of recipes. How to Cook Everything (also in Vegetarian and Fast versions), has recipes that are just as easy, no photos (but some illustrations), and a zillion variations. It is designed for someone who is a little more comfortable in the kitchen.

Basics Open

Jerusalem CoverJerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. I am in love with this cookbook. If you aren’t comfortable with sensual, vegetal food porn skip this one. The recipes are creative and have gotten me to try many new ingredients and techniques, but never seem outlandish or scary. Ottolenghi’s other accomplishments include Ottolenghi, Plenty, and Plenty More, but none of them have captured me as much as Jerusalem. Please try the roasted butternut, the wheat berries with chard and pomegranate molasses, and every eggplant recipe.

Jerusalem Open

Homemade CoverThe Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila. If you have any interest in trying to make processed food from scratch, this is your book. Alana has a lovely blog, and the book has great stories and charming titles (‘Pancakes and Waffles or the division of labor’). The recipe I adapted to make granola comes from here, I’ve made the ricotta many times over, and the best homemade granola bars.

Homemade Open

Sprouted CoverThe Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods by Sara Forte. Sara’s blog is another great one, and her book is a wonderful collection of healthful, creative recipes. Her chipotle and apple turkey burgers are my favorite ever, and come to think of it the mushroom and brown rice veggie burgers are also my favorite ever. Beyond burgers, the creamy millet with roasted portobellos and tangled carrot salad with tahini dressing are dishes that will always be in my rotation.

Sprouted Open

Cranberry Grilled Cheese

20141201_185806 I need to learn which recipes need multiplying, and which are already plenty. There were 11 people at Thanksgiving, and Will and I were in charge of pie, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes (just cubed and roasted with paprika and chili powder), a cocktail, and cranberry sauce. All dishes were appropriately proportioned except the cranberry sauce, which we doubled and greatly outlasted the turkey leftovers. It’s a good challenge to think of it as more than just a turkey topping, so last night’s dinner was grilled cheese with cranberry sauce.  I used whole grain sourdough, swiped one slice with Dijon mustard (essential in any grilled cheese), a mix of sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan (brie would be heavenly), and a thick layer of cranberry sauce. Toasted up in the cast iron, flipped, and finished in the oven for thorough melting. Served alongside a kale salad with a Dijon vinaigrette to make it a real dinner. A few slices of apple or pieces of languishing turkey, bacon, or ham could also liven up the party. We were invited to share another turkey tonight and I offered to bring the sauce, but I’ll be sure to save enough to have these again (they’re worth cooking up a batch of cranberry sauce to make, regardless of proximity to a turkey).