The Recipes: An unexpected pair of recipes rich with classic molasses flavor. First up, old-fashioned Molasses Cookies, my forever-favorite recipe. Second but not to be overlooked, a most surprising and alluring no-cook Molasses Ice Cream.
These recipes are all about the molasses, mix and match. The cookies are old favorites but really, Molasses Ice Cream is a big surprise. A real fall treat? Spread a little Molasses Ice Cream onto a couple of Molasses Cookies: instant Molasses Sandwich Cookies!
The Conversation: Who else remembers cranking a wooden ice cream maker in the back yard? Fun times for kids!
A neighbor captured this scene on eight-millimeter film in the 1960s. A few kids are circled round a wooden ice cream bucket on a summer day. We take turns cranking the handle, the bigger kids helping the littler ones as the ice cream thickens. As the film rolls in my memory’s eye, our laughs and jostling occur in jerky slow-motion. A grown-up removes the creamy-pink paddle. Pudgy fingers reach toward it for the first tastes.
How things change! How things stay the same!
Last year, a friend persuaded me to purchase an electric ice cream maker. “You’ll use it all the time,” she promised. She was right: I keep the bowl in the freezer so unusual flavors of homemade ice cream are no more than an hour away, no ice, no rock salt, no mess.
If there's ever a reason to get an ice cream maker, it's this recipe for Molasses Ice Cream. Both at once, it's unusual and completely familiar. If you like the flavor of molasses, you'll love the rich creaminess of molasses ice cream. Yummy! (And if you don't? Well, other unusual ice creams are just a churn away using my recipe for Chameleon Ice Cream or a master recipe Rustic Fruit Ice Cream).
More than that? This may be my very simplest ice cream recipe. All the ingredients are measured directly into a blender, then move straight to the ice cream maker. That's right. No cooking! No waiting!
Chill: At least 2 hours
Shape and bake: 45 minutes
Makes 5 dozen small cookies
- 3/4 cup (170g) salted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (70g) mild or blackstrap molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 250g
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons additional sugar for rolling (don't skip this step!)
MIX DOUGH Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add molasses and egg and combine well. Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine well with butter mixture.
CHILL DOUGH Gather dough into a round, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake, at least 2 hours or overnight.
ROLL, SUGAR & BAKE Heat oven to 375F (190C). Between your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls (about 12g in weight), then roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet, about 20 cookies per sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly with bottom of a glass. Bake for 8 – 11 minutes, the shorter time for "soft" cookies, the longer for "crispy", somewhere in the middle for "chewy". Cool on a rack or on paper towels.
VARIATIONS The mother of invention! A reader found herself without molasses and substituted maple syrup. She went one step further and used nutmeg instead of ginger. "Excellent" were her results!
ALANNA's TIPS I use both mild molasses for a slightly milder cookie and blackstrap molasses, my favorite, for that lovely distinctive molasses flavor. Chilling the dough makes it easier to shape the balls. If you skip this step (I do, occasionally) the cookies will really spread; just arrange them well apart on the baking sheet. For years, I've used regular white sugar for rolling the balls of cookie dough. But then I tried using the so-called "raw" sugar. Those cookies turned out especially crisp on the exterior, while the centers were especially chewy. Wonderful! How do you like your Molasses Cookies? Just vary the baking time for "soft" or "chewy" or "crisp" molasses cookies! People do love Molasses Cookies! They are real crowd pleasers and ship and travel well, too.
MOLASSES ICE CREAM
Time to table: 8 hours
Makes 4 cups ice cream
JUST FOUR INGREDIENTS
- 3 ounces (85g) cream cheese, low fat Neufchatel is fine
- 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (115g) molasses, mild or blackstrap
- 2 cups half & half
In a blender, mix the cream cheese, brown sugar and molasses until smooth. With the motor running, add the half & half. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process until mixture thickens. Transfer to a covered container and freeze until hard.
ALANNA's TIPS I had great hopes for make-ahead Molasses Sandwich Cookies, pressing Molasses Ice Cream between a pair of Molasses Cookies. The combination of the two is just wonderful but make one up and eat it on the spot. For some reason, even in the freezer, once the ice cream is spread onto the cookies, it continues to melt, making a big mess. Yes, that's experience talking!
More Recipes for Old-Fashioned Classic Cookies
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