Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sound and Vision - Blakely and Lambchop

The Emptiness Left by a Denial of the Use for which it was Intended, Colin Blakely

I'm moving to Boise in late January, so I've been thinking about (i.e. dreading) this kind of weather a lot lately. This song by Lambchop (off their recently released Live at XX Merge album) makes me think of how warm and comforting I'd hope the inside of those houses are.

I Will Drive Slowly by Lambchop on Grooveshark

Monday, November 23, 2009

Molasses Spice Cookies, etc.

Somebody got me a beautiful new copy of Baking Illustrated for my birthday, and last week I was really in the mood for some kind of molasses-y, spice-y cookie. Lo and behold, I found a promising recipe for "Molasses Spice Cookies" on page 442. The Cook's Illustrated StoryTM that prefaces this recipe is hilarious. They explain how to get the "tooth-sinking" texture and just the right amount of cracking on the tops of the cookies, but when they go into how they perfected the flavors, they really get into it. I can't read this and not hear Will Ferrell reading it aloud.
A teaspoon of vanilla extract complemented generous amounts of sharp, spicy ground ginger and warm, soothing cinnamon. Cloves, rich and fragrant, and allspice, sweet and mysterious, were added, but in more judicious quantities. Nutmeg was pedestrian and had little to offer. Finely and freshly ground black pepper, however, added some intrigue -- a soup├žon of heat against the deep, bittersweet flavor of the molasses.
Anyway, these are incredibly good cookies, and they're best served warm with some ginger ice cream. I have to admit, they were right about the black pepper.

Molasses Spice Cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened but cool
  • 1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 oz) dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light or dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  1. Place the oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 375.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  3. Beat the butter and brown/granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add the yolk and vanilla, and mix for 20 seconds. Add the molasses and mix for 20 seconds. Reduce speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl between each addition.
  4. Break off heaping Tbsp chunks of dough, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, and roll in the raw sugar. Set on parchment paper-lined baking sheet with a couple inches to spare between the cookies.
  5. Bake until puffy and the edges have just begun to set, about 11 minutes, rotating the pan after 6 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I also made a pig pickin' cake for my friend's birthday, and I used a good ol' fashioned 9x13 baking pan, not those fancy pants cake rounds. The ingredients speak for themselves. It was real good.

Y'all, today we're gonna make some peanut butter balls.