Reads, Writes, Eats and Cooks
It felt like an eternity, my head tipped to the side, watching and waiting for the molasses to trickle out of the bottle into my measuring cup. Unwrapping and plopping the room temperature butter and packed cup-shaped brown sugar in the mixer, spooning measures of baking power and soda into the light flour about to float away from the bowl, cracking the eggs into the fluffy brown butter, collecting the ginger, cinnamon, pepper, cloves into a spice mixture; the recipe had been moving forward quick and steady. Then I waited for the molasses, this dark, most viscous, bittersweet smooth sludge taking it’s very own time to trickle out of a Brer Rabbit bottle labeled since 1907. I felt like I was waiting since 1907. This was my first time cooking with molasses and it’s sheer meditative nonchalance midst the hurried pace of Christmas cookie baking was… impressive. I had even greased the measuring cup in anticipation of a slow pour out of the measuring cup into the mixer. As if it didn’t get the memo honey got, molasses took its sweet, slow time. Again.
I want to be like molasses. I want to pour out in my own time despite pressures of schedules, needs and the quick convenience of sugar cookies. Impressed by its ability to slow down time, I googled “molasses.” It turns out, it is a sugar byproduct that has a lot of nutrients. According to Wikipedia, a version of molasses, blackstrap, is a dietary supplement and an ingredient in cattle feed and fertilizer.
The third boiling of the sugar syrup yields dark, viscous blackstrap molasses, known for its robust flavor. The majority of sucrose from the original juice has been crystallised and removed. The calorific content of blackstrap molasses is mostly due to the small remaining sugar content. Unlike highly refined sugars, it contains significant amounts of vitamin B6 and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese; one tablespoon provides up to 20% of the recommended daily value of each of those nutrients. Blackstrap is also a good source of potassium. Blackstrap molasses has long been sold as a dietary supplement.
Blackstrap molasses is significantly more bitter than “regular” molasses. It is sometimes used in baking. This residual product of sugar refining is used for producing ethanol and as an ingredient in cattle feed and as fertilizer.
No wonder it doesn’t care and isn’t as eager to move like sugar. It has quite a story of being a beneficial residual of sweetness. Yes, I admire molasses. It can take it’s time in my kitchen. I’ll wait.
In what other dishes can I use magical bittersweet molasses? Let me know if you have any suggestions.