Molasses Drop Cookies

cookies, dessert, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cookie, soft, chewy, newfoundlandI remember these cookies fondly.  My mother made them often and I used to grab two or three of them with a tall glass of cold milk.  These molasses drop cookies are soft, chewy, and full of molasses flavour.  The cinnamon and ginger help round out the slight bitterness that molasses can bring.  I guarantee this will be one of your favourites.

These cookies also go by the name of Lassy cookies.  Lassy is obviously a shortened form of molasses and has worked its way into the Newfoundland vernacular.  There are lassy buns, lassy candy, and lassy bread.  There is another cookie called the lassy mog.  It starts off like the molassses drop cookie, but you add raisins and nuts to the batter.  Of course, molasses is great by itself on some bread or toutons, but it’s even better in the form of a cookie.

You start by creaming together the shortening and the brown sugar.  Once that is creamed add the egg.  Whip this batter for two minutes.  Don’t cheat and make sure you whip the batter for the proper amount of time.  This incorporates air into the batter and will make your cookie light and fluffy.   Take the time to preheat your oven to 350F.

While that is being mixed combine the sour milk and molasses.  Milk can be soured by add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk and let it sit for five minutes or so.  When you mix the molasses into the milk you will see curdled pieces of milk floating about.  This is perfectly fine.  The soured milk help balance out the flavours of the cookie.

In another large bowl combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Use a wire whisk to evenly mix the dry ingredients.

Now, with your mixer on low add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Then add about 1/2 of the milk/molasses to the batter.  Add the next third of flour, then the rest of the wet ingredients.  Finally add the last of the flour mixture.  You always want to end mixing with the dry ingredients.   This way you can judge if the batter is too loose or stiff.  Also you won’t run the risk of over mixing your batter.  Mix until clear.  That is, until you don’t see any white of the flour in the batter.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.  You can just use cooking spray on your cookie sheet, but if you read this blog regularly you’ll realize I like using a Silpat.  It makes cleaning so much easier and the cookies don’t stick at all.  Invest in some Silpat liners.  You’ll thank me later.

cookies, dessert, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cookie, soft, chewy, newfoundland

Scoop the batter with a #30 scoop onto the liners, leaving space for the cookies to spread slightly.  Bake for 12-15 minutes in the middle of the oven.  Because you can only do one pan at a time, I scooped my cookies and left them in a cool place so they wouldn’t deflate while the others were baking.  The coolest place was my garage, so I set the pans out there.  The cookies will look slightly underdone when you take them out, but rest asured, they will continue to bake when they cool on the pans.

Let them cool on the pans for a few minutes before you place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

cookies, dessert, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cookie, soft, chewy, newfoundland
Molasses Drop cookies

Molasses Drop Cookies

Amazing chewy Molasses Drop cookies.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 3/4 cup milk soured
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together the shortening and brown sugar. Add one large egg. Beat for two minutes on medium speed. Mixture should be light and fluffy.
  2. In a small bowl combine soured milk and molasses. To sour milk add one tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to fresh milk. Set aside for a few minutes.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves in a large bowl. Stir with wire whisk to distribute ingredients evenly throughout.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry mix to the creamed mixture while the mixer is on low. Add 1/2 of the milk/molasses mix. Add the next third of dry ingredients, then the rest of the wet. Finally add the last of the dry and mix until clear. No white flour should be showing in the batter.
  5. Drop with #30 scoop onto lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple Pandowdy

One of the things I love about the fall is the crispness that’s in the air.  It’s cool enough that you’ll still need a jacket, but not so cold that you need to bundled up to the gills.  That will come later.

canopy
Can you find my dog?

I took advantage of the lovely weather and took the dog for a little walk.  Nearby there’s a series of trails one can take.  Each trail varies in length from just under one kilometer to over three kilometers.  So not to long that halfway through you’re wondering “Why did I start this stupid hike in the first place?” The forest trails are a great place to contemplate life, or just enjoy the beautiful hues of red, orange, and yellow.

Another great thing about fall is apples.  Yes, you can get apples all year ’round now, but fall there an abundance of great varieties that you usually don’t see for the rest of the year.  So, instead of just settling for the usual Gala, Red Delicious, or Granny Smith, there are great ones like Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, or Northern Spy.

As I was researching the previous post about molasses, I found a Apple Pandowdywonderful recipe called Apple Pandowdy.  It was printed in my copy of the all New Purity Cookbook.  This cookbook has been around Newfoundland kitchens for decades.  My grandmother has a well worn copy in her kitchen and I have mine.  I highly recommend it if you want a cookbook that will give the basics of cooking as well as a little bit of history.  Purity is a company in Newfoundland which makes a variety of desserts and snacks, and many other goodies.  Any Newfoundlander will tell you stories about growing up chewing on a piece of hard tack or jam-jams.

I’ve adapted the recipe from the one in the Purity Cookbook.  The great thing about this recipe is you can make it a day in advance and it won’t affect the taste in the slightest.  In fact it may be better.  The flavours would have had a chance to meld and blend and the sauce will be slightly less runny.

Molasses mixture
Sauce before mixing

First preheat your oven to 375F.   Then make the sauce.  Combine the molasses, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a saucepan.  Add one cup of water and heat on medium until the sauce thickens.  It should take five minutes or so.  Remove from the heat. Then add the butter one piece at a time and stir with a whisk until the butter is melted.  I cut my butter into four pieces so it would melt a little faster.  The add the vanilla and lemon juice.  The sauce should be thick, like a caramel.

Peeled apples
Peeled apples

Peel and slice 4 cups of apples.  I used four, but you may need more or less depending on the size of the apples.  Place in a greased 9 inch square baking dish.  Pour the sauce on the apples, trying to cover them completely.

Creamy sauce on apples
Creamy sauce on apples

Now to make the topping.  Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Cut in the butter.  This is the same thing as when I made the scones, but the butter pieces should be finer.  Add the milk and beaten egg and combine.  The batter should be thick.

Biscuit topping
Biscuit topping

Scoop on top of the apples and spread out to cover the top.  Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.  The crust can be “dowdied” or broken into smaller pieces and then served. Great with whipped cream or ice cream.

Look at that amazing creamy sauce.  The molasses gives it that unique taste of Newfoundland without making it too sweet.  The crust is fluffy and light and soaks up the sauce beautifully.  The perfect dessert after a crisp fall walk through the woods.

Enjoy this wonderful apple pandowdy!
Enjoy this wonderful apple pandowdy!

Apple Pandowdy

A rustic apple dessert with a lovely drop biscuit crust.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 cups apples peeled and sliced. Use baking apples for firmer texture.

Biscuit topping

  • 1 1/4 cups All purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Blend together in a saucepan the molasses, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add the water and heat on medium until mixture has come to a boil and thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add the butter pieces one piece at a time until each one is melted. Add vanilla and lemon juice.
  2. Peel and slice 4 cups of apples. Slices can be about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange apple slices in a greased 9" square baking dish which is at least 2" deep.
  3. Pour sauce over apples, making sure to cover the apples as much as possible.
  4. Prepare biscuit dough. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter pieces with a pastry cutter or two forks, until the butter is finely incorporated. Add the milk and beaten egg and mix to make a soft dough batter. Drop with a spoon over fruit mixture. Spread evenly but do not stir.
  5. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 35-45 minutes until crust in golden brown. Cool slighty but serve warm. Makes 6 servings.