Monday, March 03, 2008

Hit and miss: Martha makes good, then goes bad, Part I

Molasses Sandwich Cookies

First of all, I would like to preface the next two posts with a reminder that everything said on this blog are my own personal views and judgements. We all have them, they are called opinions, everyone's entitled to one. And in the free world that we live in I don't think anyone should get nasty comments or emails when you do not agree with the personal statements made by another person. I'm all up for healthy, civil discussions, but if you want to get all spiteful and bitchy then may I suggest you call Ricki Lake or Maury.

Now that's been said let's get back to our normal programming...

Filling the cookie sandwiches

There it goes again, that precarious thing that teeters to and fro on a delicately balanced see-saw of emotions- that is my relationship with Martha's recipes. That see-saw teeters more so on the side of loathe rather than love but my
disdain for Martha is not at all unfounded. For lack of a more gracious way of saying this, frankly some of her recipes suck.

Thankfully not all of them suck and thankfully for you, you won't have to be reading a tirade of Martha gibes today. No, I'm saving that for the next post, hoorah for free speech! Anyway, let's not get sidetracked. Here is another Martha recipe that has worked for me. Brilliantly in fact, it almost seemed unnatural to call it a Martha recipe. I must have a knack for picking all the dud recipes on her website and now am too paranoid to spend any money on of her cookbooks.

Molasses Sandwich Cookies and Milk

I would like to think that the recipes in her published books would be more fool-proof and complete, in comparison to the ones featured on her website. It seems that the uptake of recipes on the website is prodigious, although is a little light on the copy-editing and corrections. Most recipes are lacking important instructions and missing ingredients.

But, I did pledge an optimistic post on Martha today and here it is, her recipe for Molasses Sandwich cookies. They were a hit with everyone at a picnic we had earlier. The only thing I would fault is that the cookies are way too sweet. I mean wa-aaaay too sweet. The cookies are pretty sweet on their own but when sandwiched with a molasses filling in between, the sugar levels and diabetes inducing properties soar way beyond appropriate.

Bitten

There's enough sweet in these babies to cause permanent tooth decay. So I would suggest reducing the sugar in the cookies by half and reducing the amount of actual filling by half also. That is what I did second time around and even then, the cookies aren't lacking in sugar. I think the presence of the molasses actually brings out the sweetness of the sugar even more, so I would err on the side of caution and ease up with the saccharine.

But with the right amount of sweetness, these sandwich cookies are the perfect thing to take with you to a picnic or a party. Your fellow pickinickers or party goers will thank you for bringing the party along with you. As these things have enough sugar to liven up any deadbeat gathering and will have guests potentially hanging off the chandeliers or perhaps doing a nudie run through the park. Now who wouldn't bake these just to see that?

Molasses icing and Sandwich cookies

So there you have it, another successful Martha recipe, this is the part in the title where Martha makes good. I've had a bigger share of misses than hits with her, although not documented on this blog, but this does take the hit tally up one.

Although coming up next: why there's more hate for Martha again than there is love. This is the part where she goes bad.

Molasses Sandwich Cookies
adapted from Martha.com
makes 30 cookies

NOTE: this is the modified version using half the sugar from the original recipe. If you want to try the original, then just double to sugar for the cookies and double the ingredients for the filling.

Molasses Sandwich Cookies

1½ cups plain all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup packed light-brown muscovado sugar
110g (½-cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
¼ cup unsulfured molasses

FOR THE CREAMY MOLASSES FILLING
75g softened unsalted butter
1½ tbsp unsulfured molasses
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until combined.
Beat in egg, then molasses, until smooth.
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture until a dough forms.
Drop rounded measuring teaspoonfuls of dough onto two ungreased (or parchment-lined) baking sheets, about 4cm (1½-inch) apart.
Bake until centres are dry to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes; rotate pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.
Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Molasses Filling

MAKING CREAMY MOLASSES FILLING
Whisk butter with molasses until smooth.
Gradually whisk in icing sugar, until smooth and spreadable.
Makes about 1 cup.

Spread a rounded measuring teaspoonful of Creamy Molasses Filling on the flat side of a cookie; place another cookie on top, and gently press.
Repeat until all cookies are filled.
NOTE: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 day, or refrigerate up to 3 days (cookies may soften during refrigeration).

58 comments:

RecipeGirl said...

You made these cookies look 100 times more beautiful and appetizing than Martha would have. They look delicious!

Sarah said...

These look so yummy! The only problem being...uh...I don't think I like molasses. I'd definitely be willing to try to change my mind though, they pictures make them look heavenly!

Katie said...

I know someone who is a molasses fan and would love these cookies. You photos are are wonderfully stylish as ever.

Laura said...

They look gorgeous. I wonder if you could replace the molasses with golden syrup for a different flavour? To be honest I don't really 'get' Martha's appeal, perhaps because I am not American, I don't know...I won't be sending you any angry emails about though lol :)

Aran said...

Your cookies look beautiful. The photos are so bright and fun!

As for Martha, I really admire what she has created as far as interest in food, crafting, etc... but I do agree with you when it comes to the recipe editing. I have found that to be true a few times. Her food styling and photography is why I read her magazine but the recipes themselves... hmm...

This is another amazing post!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Jen, these look very beautiful!
I hear you on much too sweet cookies - not my favorite thing, either.

Frantic Home Cook said...

Frankly, I think your pics put Martha to shame. Another gorgeous post!

joanh said...

looks so beautiful!! love the ribbons and way you shot the cookies..

toxogirl said...

I love your blog!!!

Mar said...

But your pictures look more crafty and cute than Martha's.

I wish I had a knack for that.

Becky, yep said...

I'm trying these this afternoon!
I love Molasses!!!

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I've been looking at this recipe for a long time trying to decide if I'm going to make them or not. I'm glad to have your take on them--and also to know I'm not alone in thinking that Martha's recipes aren't all they are cracked up to be.

Sarah McColl said...

i think cookies tied with ribbons are my new favorite thing!

Irene said...

I have to say that I'm still giggling about your description of the Martha relationship. I haven't used many of her recipes, but they've worked out tolerably well (so far). I'm more into the cutesy do-it-yourself things, and she's so good at that! Anyway. :) People who don't like your opinion *on your own blog* should put on their big girl panties.

Indigo said...

These look gorgeous - if anyone could handle diabetes-inducing amounts of sugar it would be my friends, so I might give them a try ^__^. I've only ever made one Martha recipe and it was gorgeous, though I did improvise with it quite a bit... so I may not be a fair judge XD.

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

oh my gosh! Those look soooo good. And I love how pretty they are espesally all wrapped up!

Emma said...

Those look amazing! I have to say, I agree with many of the commenters - honestly not a huge molasses fan, only except during the fall/winter season. But I would change that opinion in a heart beat soley because your photos are stunning, there is nothing more to it - Absolutely beautiful!!! I have to ask - what is your secret to that beautiful lighting? and what kind of camera do you have?!
I wonder if you could replace the molasses with honey and possibly add a little ginger/nutmeg spice to it? Plus the honey might kick down the sweetness a touch.
In any case, I will have to make them!

shellie said...

just gorgeous!!
I love your photos as well! so cute!!

Where do you get your light muscovado sugar? I want to try your A&C madelines!

katie said...

Your photography in this post is simply exquisite. You have outdone yourself.

JeromeFo- 杰龙 said...

Wow...
Your cookies are amazing!
They way you took all the pics
so 'pro'
*Respect*

Hillary said...

I love that you're still staying true to your blog name with this post: milk and cookies!

Cakelaw said...

These look great - I am willing to forgive Martha on this occasion.

Chelsea said...

I've actually had problems with the MS recipes, as well. I thought it was me, but I think the recipes are poorly written. I actually have found that if I WATCH her making them, I'm able to produce the correct results. I have one of her baking dvds and I love it. It was only $10 i think, but I'd bet you can find them cheaper online.

Rant away, darling. If someone defends martha that much, it's obvious there's a flaw somewhere....

joey said...

They look so good! Much better than Martha's I'm sure :) I have her book but haven't really made much from it...I will approach with caution! :)

Erika of Sweet Pea Blog said...

I am a new reader to your blog, and was taken in by your lovely pictures and original recipes. I am going to try your molasses icing with some ginger molasses cookies I make :)

wheresmymind said...

awww....what fun is removing sugar?? If anything must add more!! :P

Ang said...

well, glad to hear someone who actually knows what they are doing has the same experience with MS recipes! a - mazing pictures seriously...can i buy your cookbook?

Bordeaux said...

Your post was hilarious. I love it when people have opinions and wit. I have never tried a Martha recipe, but I do enjoy her show sometimes. Not sure why though, I guess I just enjoy watching people be uncomfortable and awkward and she's very good at that in front of her studio audience. Am looking forward to your next entries!

Tartelette said...

I am glad Martha came through with this one! I have to say I am in love with the milk cup!

marit said...

hello!
I see you had got a award being the best looking blog, which I totally agree, I like your blog very much, but I have a question for you, can you help me and give me some adresses here, I m very intrested see some other blogs, which also had the award best looking blog, do you know adresses? can you help me?

Suzana said...

Oh dear Martha! I'm pretty sure your cookies put Martha's ages away. Beautiful photos, as usual.

Sarah said...

Those cookies look very pretty! I often find American baking recipes to be quite sweet, and often automatically reduce the amount of sugar anyway.

xox Sarah

diva said...

stumbled upon your blog today. the shots just drew me in- will definitely give the recipe a try. thanks for sharing & hope u don't mind that i've linked u to my own blog. cheers my friend

VeggieGirl said...

Ahh, Jenjen, never fear - even Martha can have "faulty" recipes like those other chefs; although you certainly made those molasses cookies look like absolute perfection! bravo!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

What a person who can't eat wheat (me) is doing looking at your blog I don't know. But what I do know is that your photos are absolutly gorgeous! I love your blog and will eat vicariuosly through it.

Shannon said...

I thought I was the only one who wasn't crazy about Martha's recipes.

I used to get her magazine and of all of the recipes I made, none of them turned out at all. And I made them twice to rule out user error.

I made a mushroom sautee with an herb sauce. I would've been better off eating a houseplant.

And then I made a blueberry coffee cake that was overcooked around the edges and liquid in the middle.

I'll take your word that this cookie recipe you posted about is in fact good :)

aria said...

such beautiful photos, i love that brown ribbon. looks delish to me!!

Jeena said...

Hi there my name is Jeena and I have started a food recipe forum that I thought you would like to join here Click here for food recipe forum

I would love to see you on there to chat about food and cooking and you can talk about anything you like and start your very own topics. :-)
or see my main food recipe website Jeenas food recipe site

You have an excellent food website yourself and your just the right person to take part on our cooking forum, your going to love it!

Hope to see you soon- your most welcome to come and join us foodies, we are a friendly group and you will have lots of fun. :-)

Thanks

Jeena x
jeenaskitchen.com/forum

kazari said...

Oh yum.

I made molasses cookies a few years ago, and gosh they were good!
I wonder if I have enough molasses to make these today...

verO de delimOOn said...

I really love your blog and your pictures.
Could you tell me which pictures programme you are using to put text on the pictures ?
In advance thank you for your answer and sorry for my english.
I speak french.
verO

Cakespy said...

These cookies make me so supremely happy--just looking at them. And I like the idea of molasses and peanut butter. Nice combination, and beautiful photography as usual!

Mad Baker said...

I'm not a huge fan of molasses either, but these look so pretty, Jen!

fairyskull said...

Delicious !!!!
Lisa
http://ricettedafairyskull.myblog.it

Cheryl said...

I'm glad these came out well for you. I have heard quite a bit of problems with people trying Martha's recipes.

Half Baked said...

Gorgeous! These look great. I agree with your assessment of Martha's recipes it's alway hit or miss!

Monique said...

I used to make my chocolate chip cookies with a Martha recipe from her magazine. Then I discovered Anna Olsen's recipe for the cookies and I've been converted since.

Alexandra said...

I've never had the urge to try any of martha's recipes for some reason...I feel like there are so many other books to choose from...

I don't know I guess it's just me...

Maddy said...

These look delish! I love the molasses filling- and how easy it looks, too. Sorry you were getting negative comments from people...your blog is one of my favorites :)

Robert Levy said...

I think Martha would be jealous of how your cookies look. Absolutely delicious looking.

Christie said...

Great shots! Is that Kikki K. ribbon? I love that store.

artisansweets said...

I have the same issues with Martha recipes. You are not alone.

Rachel said...

Hey, random question for you! What font did you use to write "afternoon snack?" across the top of the first photo? I love it!

Katherine Of It All said...

Oh jeez, always lurking, but I gotta de-lurk to totally ditto your stance on Martha. The cookbooks really aren't very good either, by the way. I WILL try your version of the recipe.

Lynnylu said...

Congratulations on your DMBLGIT award! The cookies look great. I am happy to find someone else who realizes that Martha's beautifully photographed dishes just don't work sometimes.

Shari said...

I love the ribbon around the cookies. Congratulations on the DMBLGIT award!

Kristen said...

I just had to stop by and say congrats to you on your DMBLGIT award. Well deserved... these look much better than anything Martha could have put together ;)

Cachou66 said...

Bonjour,
je vais tenter tes biscuits mais par quoi peut on remplacer la mélasse, j'ai du Golden sirup ça peut aller?
j'aime bien ton blog...

silicone_spatula said...

wow those look amazing!!
btw, where do you get your fonts? they're so cute! ^_^