Wednesday, December 21, 2011

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.

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