Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TWD: Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies & Caramel Corn

Whew! I'm a day late for Tuesday's with Dorie this week. I've been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off for the past week!

I collaborated with my brother-in-law on the mother-of-all-Halloween-costume-paper-mache-projects. (I'll give an atta-boy to anyone who can guess what this is supposed to be. I know, it's kind of obscure.)

Then there were two batches of caramel corn to make. (By the way, it's so good and completely addictive. I'll share the recipe below.)

Throw in a 3rd grade concert...

... and school Halloween parties,

... and last but not least, my 30-foot long former weed patch. This is the last chance I'll get to work some organic matter into our lovely clay soil before winter, so I've been digging, digging, digging.

Among other things, I need a home for my strawberry plants that I foolishly thought I could contain in pots. I started with two plants, which multiplied to at least twenty. (Any and all strawberry growing tips are welcome as I obviously don't know what I'm doing.)

So anyway, that's my big long list of excuses why I'm late getting my Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies posted. Thanks so much to Pamela of Cookies with Boys for picking an easy recipe. Also, thanks to Laurie for allowing the Tuesday's with Dorie bakers to bake the recipes out of order this month. Pamela's pick isn't until later in the month, but it was the easiest one for me.

In a word, these cookies were fantastic! If you like molasses and fall spices, that is.

I really liked the method for making them too. I've never turned out such a perfectly uniform batch of cookies!

First, we were to chill the dough. Then cut into uniform sized pieces and roll into balls. A bath in sugar prepped them for the pan, where a (go Bengals!) glass was used to smoosh them down.

And voila! perfect cookies!

I will definitely make these again (and again). If you'd like to see the recipe, please check out Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours" or check out Pamela's site.

Caramel Corn

I would rate this at a medium difficulty recipe due to the hot caramel mixture.

3 quarts popped corn (I popped kernel corn on the stove. I'm not sure if this would work with microwave popcorn, but if you want to try, I wouldn't recommend a buttered version.)
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. dark or light corn syrup (I used dark)
1/2 C. margarine (I used 3 oz. butter and it was fine.)
1/2 tsp. salt
chopped nuts or peanuts (optional... quantity is to taste)
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Butter a 9" x 13" pan. (Note, I doubled the recipe and used a 12" x 18" pan.)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Pop your corn and spread evenly in the pan. Sprinkle nuts over top, if using. Have it nearby and ready when the sugar mixture is done boiling.

Bring the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir well as it froths up.

Pour sugar mixture evenly over the top of the popcorn. Stir the popcorn as best you can, but don't worry if the caramel mixture isn't evenly spread over all popcorn. It will distribute as you bake and stir later on.

Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Use a wide wooden spoon or spatula when you stir. Try to scrape up any fallen sugar from the bottom and turn over the popcorn. If some of the sugar sticks to the spoon, try to scrape it off and lay over any dry looking areas. Stir gently as the popcorn wants to spill out of the pan.


chocolatechic said...

I made these cookies this week too, they were fabulous.

Nichi said...

I made these last night... omg my favorite!

Grace said...

as if popcorn wasn't addictive enough with just butter and salt. geez. i can see myself eating buckets and buckets of the caramel version. buckets, i say.

Katrina said...

Can't wait to make these cookies! (I made the bundt--also fabulous!)
And the popcorn--I love caramel corn. Need to try this, too!

Cupcake Activist said...

I made these molasses spice cookies last night too! I haven't baked them yet, still munching on the dough!

Nina said...

Yours look perfect!! I made these as well and LOVED them! They were really delicious! Cant wait to make again.

Clivia said...

Your cookies look delicious!

I do very little to my strawberry patch. Plant them anywhere you have room. Mine get only morning sun. Mulch around them. Make sure to pick all the berries. (At the end, I let the dogs get in there and eat the leftovers.) And then those baby plants just pop up all over the garden.

Megan said...

I just used that exact same caramel recipe to make chex snack mix. Only I threw in some pretzels, too, thinking it would provide a nice contrast to all the sugar.

I loved these cookies too, and it sounds like we had the same kind of week - CRAZY!

Anonymous said...

The cookies were a big hit with everyone! Your cookies look great. The caramel corn sounds yummy too.

Pamela said...

It seems every where I go, people are making some version of caramel corn. I've never done it, but I think this may be my year! Looks so good! And your perfect. Thanks for baking with me.

Steph said...

The mask looks really good. You aren't only amazing at decorating cakes, but also in art. Thanks for showing the flattening picture, I wasn't sure how much I would have to press down.

margot said...

The cookies look fantastic, can't wait to try them! I didn't have time for this week's cake either, so I was also grateful for the leniency.

I made caramel corn last weekend too! Such a great fall treat.

Anne said...

The cookies are beautiful and the popcorn looks delicious too! I'm jealous of all your strawberry plants- wow!

The Food Librarian said...

Love the cup you used to press down the cookies! These look fantastic. And that carmel corn looks perfect!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I love fall flavours, the cookies look wonderful!

TeaLady said...

Cookies look perfect. These were really good. And spicy

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

The cookies look perfect! But I'm loving the caramel corn more! I simply cant get enough of it!!

Rylan @ Art and Appetite said...

There are so many good things in your website, I have no idea which to try first. Oh and that is the trick to make your cookies so round and perfect! Thanks for sharing.

Rylan @ Art and Appetite said...

Btw, I'm glad you are able to take Jen's classes. I've always wanted to take it but her classes are too far. I'm hoping to host her class in 2010.

easy recipes said...

This is a great way to make perfect cookies.

Sweet and Savory said...

Thanks for the step by step photos. I haven't made these yet but planning to. I want to take another look at your photos before I start out on my venture. The cookies are so appealing.