I have previously written about the Souk Market in Charlottenberg in Sweden – a tiny town with a whole lot of very large supermarkets, mostly catering to Norwegians who cross the border to buy stuff in bulk. I had not been there in a while, but I planned to make a recipe that required pomegranate molasses (Persian pomegranate and lamb meatball soup).
Considering that I can’t find normal molasses most of the time, the idea that pomegranate molasses could be had (with multiple brand and container-sizer options) in the smallest of towns in rural Sweden seemed laughable. But having been to – and been overwhelmed by – the Souk Market before, I knew it represented my best chance. Imagine my delight when I found an entire section of the store filled with different kinds of molasses, including pomegranate as well as carob and grape, among others. Amazing.
pomegranate molasses from the Souk Market
Check out John Oliver‘s new gig on HBO – in the inaugural episode, he goes on a pomegranate-related tirade.
Somehow when you affix a normal chocolate Hershey’s kiss to a peanut butter cookie, as I often do, it does not come out looking like a boob/nipple or at least the nipple part of a baby bottle. But when I made ginger cookies with some specialty, seasonal pumpkin spice kisses, a “boob cookie” is exactly what I got. Did it make them any less yummy? I guess not. A few people did rave about them. I can’t imagine why because the idea of a pumpkin spice kiss sounds disgusting – like a ball of beige-colored wax. No accounting for taste – I only make things sometimes because they are novel.
How to make the ginger cookies yourself?
2 cups flour 1/2 cup white sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1/4 cup water (or more as needed) 1/4 to 1/3 cup of molasses 1/3 cup butter 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder
Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix butter, molasses, vanilla, grated fresh ginger and water together. (You can use between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of molasses. They have a strong flavor, so you can decide how much to use based on how strong a molasses taste you want to achieve.)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir by hand. Keep stirring until a dough forms. If it is too dry, add more water, a couple of tablespoons at a time (do not overdo it) until the dough comes together and achieves a very soft clay-like consistency.
You can refrigerate the dough if you wish, but I didn’t.
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll dough in small balls and then roll in sugar. Press the dough balls flat with your hand or with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake 9 to 10 minutes.
If you top with kiss candies as I did, you will want to bake these for four or five minutes first, and then get them out, quickly press the unwrapped candies into the tops, put them back in the oven and bake for about four more minutes. These melt easier than their chocolate predecessors, so you don’t want to overdo it.
It is not time for gingerbread men, but I assembled this army of gingerbread men when I got my hands on a good supply of molasses.
Everyone has a go-to, favorite recipe for certain types of cookies. My grandmother had what she considered a foolproof gingerbread cookie recipe. It involved boiling water (this being the distinguishing characteristic I remember about it). She never used any other recipe because she claimed that this was the only one that would work for her. Attempt after attempt, I could never quite make the dough turn out the way I wanted, so I had to seek out my own solution and thus found the following recipe, being posted here only a few months after making the post with pictures… (This makes a very large batch, as evidenced by the 7 cups of flour.)
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix shortening, sugar and molasses. Add the cold water. Blend dry ingredients together and then mix them into the wet. Split the dough into two or three sections and wrap them for chilling. Chill the dough at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 175C while you roll the dough out section by section. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness and then cut into desired shapes. Bake at 175C for 10 to 12 minutes.
I had planned to bake this evening but in my current living situation, I cannot always have my way. I had specific baking plans. All thwarted. Oh well.
Thus, instead of baking, I am relegated to a contemplative evening.
1. I am sad. I understand nothing. I want to be apathetic and aloof like I used to be, but I can’t.
2. I have yet to find molasses in this country, so I cannot make gingerbread or ginger snaps or any other typically gingery-spicy cookies (incidentally, the only kind of cookies I really like – perhaps fortuitous then that I can’t get my hands on molasses).
3. I am already thinking about Halloween. ???
4. I am homesick for Iceland, missing some important people there.