Saturday, July 01, 2006

Muscovado Sugar Cookies

Muscovado Sugar Cookies

It’s been 17 days and not a cupcake in sight. I’m quite proud of myself in fact; the restraint exercised over the past seventeen days in this household can be, neither rivalled nor denied. I don’t think anyone in this house has ever deprived themselves of any food for this long, and I mean any food. If we want it, we buy it, we make it and we eat it.

I challenged myself to go on a self-imposed
cupcake sabbatical in order to set off on other non-cupcake endeavours. So far it has been a successful mission. I haven’t made anything overly notable or extraordinary; or more precisely, nothing yet from this cookbook or anything from this remarkable blog, although I think I have been fairing well.

So today the urge to bake cupcakes was particularly strong, but my resolve to steer clear of them (for a season) was even stronger. So I decided to make Muscovado Sugar Cookies instead, as there was a surplus of sugar in my pantry and besides, who doesn’t like sugar, really. There may be some of you that are thinking, “Actually, no, I don’t like sugar all that much”, but I will speculate that you are in the minority. And besides this isn’t your typical, commonplace, find-it-in-every-pantry type of sugar, this is Muscovado sugar. What I consider to be the Dom Pérignon of sugars.

Muscovado Sugar is characterised by its chewy texture and robust molasses flavour. Unlike other brown sugars that achieve their brown colour from the addition of molasses to white sugar, Muscovado acquires its taste and colour from the juices extracted directly from the sugar cane. Its sweetness is not as potent as other refined sugars and it possesses a distinctive and matchless taste. This sugar, I have been known to pick and eat straight out of the jar, it’s that good.

As for the cookies, they emerge from the oven soft and flimsy, it is when they cool completely that the sugary crunch becomes evident. I like to eat around the small dark muscovado erruptions on the cookie surface, and save it till last. I like my last bite to be savouring the burnt sugar crispiness in these little explosions. It's those simple little things that make eating these biscuits a delight.

Muscovado Sugar Cookies
(makes approx 30 cookies)
Muscovado Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
2/3 cup dark muscovado sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups plain all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 180°C, and line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugars until the batter lightens in colour and becomes fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended.
Slowly add the flour and baking soda and mix until flour is incorpoarted. The batter will be quite wet.
Add the chocolate chips (if using).
Drop 1 tbsp amount of batter onto a prepared baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes.
When cookies are done, take them out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack. The cookies will be very soft, so be carefully when lifting them off the tray. Let cool on a wire rack until cookies crisp up.

NOTE: There really is no substitute for the unique taste of Muscovado sugar, although if you want to make conventional sugar cookies, just replace the Muscovado with soft brown sugar.

A good quality brand of Muscovado you can use is
Billington's which is a UK brand that specialises in unrefined cane sugars. They are available in Sydney at most specialty gourmet and health conscious stores like Macro Wholefoods and Aboutlife in Balmain.

Store the Muscovado Sugar in an airtight container as that, although it keeps for a long time, is prone to drying out. So to avoid your precious sugar from cementing into a brick find a good home for it. If you do, it will last you a very long time.


pinknest said...

i love dark, sugary crispy things so much. so much more than soft and chewy! i will definitely have to try these. i wonder if i can find the muscovado sugar, though. i mean, it was impossible to friend frozen sour cherries the other week and i went to nine different stores in nyc.

missy-j said...

Are these crunchy or chewy?

chocolatesuze said...

wow dude those sound sexy! is Muscovado sugar hard to find in supermarkets?

Tanna said...

Those look so soft and beautiful.

jenjen said...

Pinknest- hello, thanks for dropping by, I am definitely sure you will be able to find the Muscovado sugar in NYC...they had it when I went to the Philippines, so im sure they will have it there : )

Missy J- these cookies are crunchy, they come out of the oven soft and then the sugar cools and hardens the cookies.

Chocolate Suze- Unfortunately I don't think you will find Muscovado Sugar in your typical Coles or Woollies, I have never seen them there. You might have to go some where more "chi-chi" gourmet, if you know what I mean.

Tanna- thanks, they tasted a beauty too, hope your road trip is going well. I loved all your photos. Stay safe!!

Gabriella True said...

oh my god. I LOVE muscovado sugar. I have some in the cupboard.

I ordered it online. I am bookmarking this!

Anonymous said...

I found Muscovado sugar at a Super Target. Made these cookies. However there is a typo...recipe says bake at 180 degrees for 12-15 minutes. I am assuming it should be a 380 degree oven. What is confusing as there are some caramelized sugar cookies that bake for 45 minutes in a 200 degree oven.

jenjen said...

Anon- No typo, it is 180 degrees Celsius.

El Maestro Muscovado said...

Thanks for using muscovado sugar for baking! Indeed, it is the healthiest and distinctively delicious among all sugars/sweeteners!

muscovado sugar fan said...

Muscovado sugar can be hard to find in stores. Sometimes you'll get lucky and see it at a mainstream grocery store, but it often requires a trip to a specialty shop. Even then, it's not uncommon to find that they don't have any on hand.

Fortunately, you can buy it online through reputable vendors who carry name brands like Billingsley's. Relatively inexpensive and delivery is quick.