Fresh Baked Molasses Cookies

It’s officially fall (in my mind).  We don’t need a confirmed date on the calendar to substantiate that.  Do we?  After all, it is the 3rd of September, the kids are back in school, the morning air is crisp and cool, and I’m looking forward to apple and pumpkin everything.

It’s funny how the changing of our seasons brings about subtle changes in our lives.  Changes that most of us embrace without much thought.  How many times have you opted for a new hair style for the summer months, scoped out a new menu for chilly autumn nights, looked for that perfect winter coat for the coldest months of the year, or decided to take on the challenge of a good spring cleaning of your house? 

With fall (here) I’ve been thinking about change too.  I’ve been thinking of ways to shake up the content on my blog a little. 

I’m not talking about writing politically controversial posts that would ignite a spark or a wildfire.  Although, every once in awhile I’m tempted by to do something like that because I love a good debate, and I like to use that part of my brain that doesn’t get exercised nearly enough.  I know – curse me if you must.

With my thinking cap on,  I have a couple ideas that I’d like to implement here in the future.  If I do, I may even ask for your help in orchestrating some of them.  Are you game?

In the meantime, while I’m working all of that out in my head, let’s get down to business.  Cookie business.

These cookies are the result of me having a craving for molasses cookies.  It’s not like I haven’t made molasses cookies here before – twice actually.  I do fear that these cookies have just moved to the front of the line though.  Probably because there is an ingredient in these that you won’t find in the other two cookies that I’ve made.  Coffee!

This recipe is simple to make.  One bowl actually.  Drop, not roll, too. The flavor is especially good, and I’m really drawn to the texture of this cookie.  One of my other recipes produces a chewier, flatter cookie.  I do like those too, but I think that if both cookies were sitting next to each other on a plate I’d choose this cookie over the other just because of the texture.  I know that’s not true for everyone though, so here is the recipe for my chewier, flatter molasses cookie.

Fresh Baked Molasses Cookies

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. vegetable shortening

1/2 c. molasses

2 small eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 1/2 c. cold brewed coffee

3 c. all-purpose flour

Course sugar for sprinkling on top

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper; grease lightly with non-stick cooking spray

Makes about 2 1/4 dozen cookies

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients except the flour.  Mix well with electric mixer.  Beat in 1 cup of flour at a time until they are all mixed in thoroughly.  Let dough rest for 15-20 minutes and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drop onto prepared cookie sheets using a dining tablespoon.  Sprinkle with course sugar.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or slightly firm to the touch.  Cool on cookie trays for several minutes before transferring to baking rack.

What kind of cookie texture do you like?  Does it depend on the type of cookie, or is it across the board?

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Fall Photos

The fall in upstate New York is magnificent.  The skies can be moody, leaves turn beautiful colors, and when the sun shines, it warms your soul. 

Here is a look at the fall through my camera lens. 

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Do you have a favorite season? 

Black & Blues

Summer is whizzing by us like the speed of light; before you know it fall will be upon us.  And while I love the fall, it is one of my favorite seasons,  I love the summer too.  I’ve been trying to preserve as much of this summer as I can.   I’ve lost myself in a couple of good books, hubby and I have finally launched a sailboat we bought a few years ago and never managed to get into the water for one silly reason after another.  At some point in  life everyone comes to  realize that life is too short, and it’s just not a cliché you’ve heard a thousand times before.  You have to find the money, re-prioritize, and make time to enjoy yourselves.  And that is why our sailboat has finally made it into the beautiful water of the Finger Lakes.

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If you haven’t noticed, I have not spent much time baking or blogging this summer.  I  miss both.   While I have been taking lots of pictures, and I’ve written two freelance pieces, the extreme temperatures haven’t really given me much incentive to step into my kitchen and turn on the oven.   Since the extreme heat we’ve been seeing isn’t just a local problem I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

But there is good news. With a bit of relief from the high temperatures  I ventured into the kitchen today to let some of the creativity I’ve got bottling up inside of me out.  To me, there is nothing more inviting than berry and cinnamon filled scones baking in your oven, because of this, there was little debate on what I would make. And regardless of what time of day you make scones, you will not be able to resist sampling them to see if they live up to that wonderful aroma they have just sent wafting through your home.

Since we are in the heart of berry season I decided to mix things up a bit.  I opted to use blackberries and blueberries which seem to compliment each other quite well.  Warning – I did not use them sparingly….

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These scones are lighter in texture than some I’ve made.  I think they are perfect for a summer breakfast treat.

Black & Blue Scones

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. quick cooking oats

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

2 TBSP. granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 TBSP. chopped pecans

1 stick of (cold) margarine

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. blueberries

1 c. blackberries

Cinnamon & Sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet, or use parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients.  Cut in cold margarine.  In a separate bowl, mix milk and sour cream together.  Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add milk mixture.  Blend by hand until everything is mixed.  Fold in berries.  On a lightly floured surface shape dough into a 10” round piece, about 1” in thickness.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into even pie shaped pieces and place on cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of scone. Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar while warm.

One final note. I also found some time to work on a few gift tags while the temperatures have been too warm to spend in the kitchen.  Here is what I’ve come up with. These are a great addition to any treat you’re looking to give away.  Leave a personalized message on the back for the lucky recipient.

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Enjoy!