Christmas Cookies/Cookys- Read this if you think you could use a good case of the guffaws
My dad wrote this in an email recently. I believe it was his version of a holiday greeting card. It cracked me up. P.S Pops, I am making you some molasses cookies over break. xoxo
The fact of the matter is, that I am indifferent to the color or shapes of cookies, even Christmas cookies. Round, square, in the shape of a fat man or reindeer, blue green, red with sprinkles; it's all the same to me--so long as they taste good. So when Debi was making a batch of Christmas cookies I was suddenly overcome by the nostalgia of Mom's molasses cookies. Big ones, soft and cakey, that you eat with a cauldron of cold, whole milk. That you can dunk, or to avoid the ineveitable decomposition of the cookie when it is saturated, and the disconcerting particulate suspension in the milk, which no one is particularly fond of, you can do what I do. Disgustingly, take a large bite of the cooky and then fill any void spaces left over in your mouth with milk. To do this right you need a bib, but I never wear one.
Well there was no recipe for molasses cookies in the family cookbook that we put together so I went on the internet. Some of the recipes there used a lot of spices such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon and allspice, but I did not remember mom's cookies being particularly spicy, I just remembered the taste of the molasses. So I decreased the amounts of spices and eliminated cloves. Some of the recipes called for a large proportion of refined sugar as compared to the molasses, but as I indicated before, what I remembered from Mom's cookies was the flavor of the molasses, so I upped the proportion of black strap molasses and pretty much eliminated the refined sugar. I synthesized several recipes for the egg, milk and flour components, and because the memory of molasses cookies was so strong I decided to double the recipe.
Then it came to mixing the ingredients together, and the truth is, I probably could have followed the directions a little better with regard to the sequence of adding ingredients, etc. Looking back, it is clear to me now that mixing half a cubic yard of sakrete in a wheelbarrow would have taken about the same amount of effort, and would have yielded similar results. This is where I began to get some premonitions of the eventual outcome.
Debi remarked that she had not seen molasses cooky dough that stiff, and she questioned the nature of the copious white nodules in the batter. I explained that they were organic, and could be eaten.
The only thing about cookies, other than taste, that I am not indifferent too is size, so I decided to make them big. I retreived a wide mouth glass from the cup board and used that to cut out the cookies from the rolled-out dough. Interestingly, as stiff as the mixed dough was, I was able to use a standard rolling pin to roll it out and did not have to trouble myself with renting some sort of a roller from Uhall.
Then I baked them, I used the maximum temperature and the maximum time from the assorted recipes on the internet for the first batch, and in successive batches doubled the time, then added to that. I finally resorted to finishing them off using the convection utility on the oven which converts it to sort of a blast furnace.
I was disappointed, the cookies are lousy. They have the specific gravity of a lead sinker, but slightly better texture. On the upside they do not dissolve when you dunk them milk, in fact, I am not sure they would dissolve in nitric acid. They are round and about the size of a clay pigeon. They could be used as such, except I doubt if they would break apart unless they were hit dead center with a deer slug.
I jotted down the recipe that I was propounding from my imagination and the internet sources, I am considering approaching Corning glass with it, I think that many of the ceramic properties of the cookies have industrial or military applications.
Then I thought of the other thing. When I think of cookies, really contemplate them, I come to realize that they are the villians of the cullinary world. What do cookies contribute to nutrition---nothing. In fact too much sugar has been linked to all sorts of health problems. The other thing about cookies is that they are addictive, they are like rabbits, one cooky begets another, and another, and another, etc. For example, starting with the resolve to just eat one, the next thing that you know is that you have gone through a quart of milk and a couple of sleeves of Oreo's.
Not with these cookies, beginning with the first bite, there is in fact a diminishing desire to take another bite. Finish the first cookie (some alzheimers patients and unusually desparate people would do that) and the the idea of having another cooky, any cooky is repugnant. Better yet the after taste remains with you for the rest of the day.
If you visit us over the holidays you can have as many as you want.