Nana’s Molasses Cookies and A Day of Being Dead

Well here we are, back again.  Quite a bit did happen this week, which deterred me from cooking, but the main reason for my lack of blogging was what happened last weekend.  You might say that it was similar to the croissant fiasco of March.  Would you like to hear the story?  Here it is…

So last Friday things were going well.  I knew I didn’t have much homework and believed the weekend would be great.  It was quite wonderful until Sunday afternoon.  On Thursday, my Spanish teacher had assigned us a project about El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead.  We got into groups and had to choose a dead person to build an altar for.  We were doing Steve Irwin.  First problem with this was that I volunteered to make the food for the altar, and Steve Irwin doesn’t like simple things, he likes Chinese food.  Now, I couldn’t just buy Chinese food, and if I made it I was pretty sure no one would eat it, seeing as Spanish is right after lunch.  I was still undecided about what I was doing on Sunday afternoon about his favorite food.

AND, even though I didn’t know what food I would be making for him, I had still convinced myself that I had time to make Pan de Muertos for the altar as well.  On Sunday we had to go to my brother’s cross country meet, you see.  We were supposed to have arrived back from the meet by 1:30.  We got back at 4:30.  Yet I still wanted to make Pan de Muertos, which takes, I don’t know, like five hours to rise! and some strange food that I hadn’t yet figured out?  Why?  I don’t really know.

Soo, I began the bread and set it to rising.  Then I raced around the house trying figure out what some authentic Australian recipes were.  After realizing Pavolva wouldn’t work because of the whipped cream, and friands wouldn’t work because we didn’t have the right pan, I lit upon Lamingtons.  They sounded like they would be pleasing, yet I did have doubts from the beginning.  They are made of yellow cake, sliced horizontally and filled with whipped cream.  The cake is then cut up into squares and dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut.

My mom went out to get a few ingredients while I busied myself reading “The Old Man and the Sea,” my only homework that weekend for school.  The starter finished rising and I made the dough and set it bak to rise.  When mom got home I made the cake for the Lamingtons, put the cream in the middle and cut them up to dip.

Guess what?  Cream doesn’t hold cake together.  You cannot put ceam in hot icing.  Neither can you put it in cold, hard icing.  Lamingtons sure taste good, if you don’t mind that they look like hairy lumps.  I mean, the cake recipe was divine, but let’s just say that making Lamingtons at whatever hour it was it that point, sure didn’t work.  I gave up after eight of them.

The bread finally got done at about 11.  I decided once I got to school that it would just be for show though, because I had read a different recipe afterwords that called for a much longer cooking time, and the center to my bread still was pretty much dough.  I’m quite glad we kept it.  Turns out the inside was dough.  It was REALLY good dough though.  That much butter, and sugar and egg yolks made it a lot like king cake.

Oh yeah, and the best part to all of this was when I got to school on Monday I learned we were having a surprise pep rally that afternoon, when Spanish would have been.  So much for all of the cooking.  We ate the Lamingtons in class on Tuesday instead.  I decided I shouldn’t bother trying them-too many bad memories.

So, the lesson to be learned is this.  Do not bite off more than you can chew, and only make things for schol that you have made before!  Next time, the class will be getting cream puffs…even if they have little to do with Australia.

The Pan de Muertos

Now onto today.  Tomorrow is the church Bazaar.  I promised that I would make some gluten-free cookies and that’s what I did.  This recipe made about 3 dozen, though this probably would have been close to four if you counted the ones that burned and the ones we ate ourselves.  It’s a very good recipe that my Grandmother makes.  I really prefer the gluten ones as they are much more substantial than the gluten-free ones.  The gluten free cookies are much crisper and thinner than the gluten ones.  The taste is just the same though, and they taste quite good. Try them!  Recipe is below:

Best Maine Molasses Cookies
Makes about 3 or 4 dozen

2 3/4 cup flour (I used a combination of Bob’s Red Mill flour and King Arthur gluten-free flour mixes.  I also added 3/4 tsp. xantham gum)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses

In a small bowl, measure flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Mix thoroughly and set aside.  In a large bowl, measure the sugar and egs, and beat until creamy.  Add oil and molasses, and mix well.  Add the flour mixture graduallyto the wet mixture, nad mix well.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Shape into small balls and coat with sugar.  Place balls onto greased cookie sheet or sheet covered in parchment paper, and flatten into a circle with a tumbler bottom.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes (When I made these gluten-free I found the best way to cook them was on the very top rack for about 10 minutes)  Remove to a baking sheet to cool.

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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!