I was thrilled (and overwhelmed) to see more than forty participants in this round of Sugar High Friday, Jennifer's inspired monthly Internet baking event. When I looked for unusual molasses recipes before Friday, nothing really grabbed me. If only I had a list like the one you'll find below! From gingerbreads to cookies to cocktails, I had a lot of fun seeing everyone's creative ideas.
Thanks to everyone who participated, especially with IMBB happening the same week-end. And a big welcome to the many first-time participants. I hope you enjoyed participating and that you'll continue to contribute your great ideas.
Niki at Esurienties took advantage of my "treacle loophole" and combined recipes to produce a Coopers Stout & Treacle Spice Cake with Pears. Her description of the flavors and her great pictures give a vivid illustration of this tempting dessert, my first glimpse at the wide range of delicious treats I was about to see.
Julie from A Finger In Every Pie notes, as did many of the bloggers, that my theme isn't particularly seasonal. Eh, what can I say? A childhood memory inspired her to create Extreme Congo Bars that combine molasses, dates, pecans, and chocolate in a deep, rich bar cookie. Her description motivated me to add chocolate to my own entry when I made it.
Barbara at winosandfoodies.com mentions a deep association between molasses and her childhood on a farm. When her first idea didn't pan out, she decided to make a molasses bread. But, alas, her bread didn't quite work out, either. Tastes great, very filling. Like putty, she says, with a nice sense of humor. But she might give it a try again. Also be sure and check out her Anzac biscuits made with golden syrup, which I think is the same as light treacle.
Jennifer from Taste Everything Once eagerly sent me her first-ever SHF post. "I've been itching to send you this link for weeks," she wrote. And I wrote back that I would have been itching to read it once I saw the title:Coriander and Pomegranate Molasses Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. I like the combination of flavors in this dish, so I don't know if I could take her advice to eat it in small portions.
Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness shared a recipe for her first SHF that's been passed down since at least World War I. Her multi-generational molasses cookies have a charming, chunky shape and look beautiful dusted with sugar.
Ana from Pumpkin Pie Bungalow shared her mother's recipe for Cake de Macau. She's not sure how this very non-Portugese dish ended up in her mother's recipes, but she offers some theories that seem reasonable enough.
My friend Winnie over at Hodge Podge Kitchen, She of the Many Gorgeous Photos, kindly contributed three entries for this Sugar High Friday. This would be stunning on its own, but she says right at the top that she's not a big molasses fan. Her dishes will probably convert others who think they don't like this ingredient. The last dish in particular seems to be a favorite.
I love any recipe that starts with "make your own...". Oliver & Nicky tell you pointedly that you won't find molasses in the ingredient list for their pretty and light Three Berry Lime Sorbet. That's because you start by reducing the syrup yourself.
Grab Your Fork's Augustus Gloop made a dense gingerbread since he's a fan of moist, dense cakes. He's much more patient than I: He watched his treacle in fascination as it flowed out of the bottle, I tapped my foot and groused about thick ingredients.
I was dubious when I saw that Sarah of Delicious Paths opted to help molasses " turn a slender ankle in the direction of health and well-being." Desserts and healthy eating? In the same sentence? Nonetheless, her Oatmeal-Molasses Banana Bread with Bananas Foster Topping sounds sufficiently decadent for a dessert-themed event.
Celia's daughter might have been disappointed that "gingerbread" didn't mean little people-shaped cookies, but the rest of us can enjoy the raisins and candied ginger in the cake they did make. I note that Celia did the research I didn't, and provides the actual difference between treacle and molasses.
Zarah from Food and Thoughts topped a Danish treat called Sirupskage, "a cross between a quick bread and a shortbread cookie", with a molasses-creme fraiche ice cream she says still needs some work. You wouldn't know anything went wrong from the pretty plating in the first picture.
Nic. from bakingsheet impressed me with her graham crackers. She says they taste markedly better than store-bought, and they don't look too difficult, so I'm tempted to give the recipe a whirl. I'm with her on the s'mores idea.
Lisa from Restaurant Widow hit a triple with her Spiced Molasses Cookie with Molasses Ice Cream and Basil Hayden Treacle Caramel Sauce. Quite a feat for her first-ever food blog event. I love the look of the caramel sauce on the plate.
Mika from The green jackfruit also tried to make a healthier molasses dessert. What is it with these people? She kept things light with her Molasses Ginger Cookies, though she eschewed ground ginger for freshly grated ginger. For a less-healthy option, she suggested sandwiching ice cream between two cookies. Now that's what I'm talking about!
When in doubt, make a trifle. I live by this advice. When the tops of her soft ginger cake muffins ripped off Suebob from Snackish decided to impress her co-workers by bringing a Trifling Ginger Molasses Cake to an office potluck. Lucky them!
Cookie-decorating maven Sylvie from Food - Got to Love It contributed to her first SHF with pretty Decorated Moravian Molasses Cookies. She also had to explain this event to her husband, a problem we've probably all encountered as we describe food blog events to our loved ones.
Kim from walkernewyork eagerly contributed a "cornbread pudding", her more politically-correct name for New England's molasses-rich Indian Pudding. Since her baby's made her a whiz at fast cooking, this dish doesn't take long at all.
Anne from the appropriately named Anne's Food found a new favorite with the Syrup-cranberry cookies she adapted from a Swedish cookbook. "Syrup" seems to be the term for treacle in Scandinavian tongues, given the dark and light versions she mentions and the similar usage of the term by Zarah in Denmark.
Even non-French speakers will be able to follow Veronica's simple recipe for Financiers à la melasse et pistaches. In short, combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, add browned butter, molasses, and pistachios, and pour into buttered molds. Cook for 10 minutes, and let the financiers rest in the oven with the oven off. Véronique, dites-moi si j'ai fait une erreur avec la traduction!. Safari users will want to switch browsers to look at this site, by the way. Firefox handles the different character set with aplomb.
Before I read Molly at spicetart's post, I was intrigued by the url, which included the phrase "plate-licking." Her simple technique for Strawberries Bathed in Molasses Sour Cream speaks with the authority of someone who loves food: Pour stuff together until it tastes good. Oh, and don't forget, "drizzle some molasses on top so you can take a fancy picture and your entry for Sugar High Friday looks tight."
Sarah from The Delicious Life offered her opinion of molasses with her laugh-inducing opener, "There is a reason the word 'ass' is part of the name of that drippy, gooey, sticky (yes sticky being the perfect concatenation of stinky and icky) molasses". Despite this bias, she combines a bunch of great ingredients in her Gingerbread Ice Cream Sundae with Rum-Molasses Pineapple Sauce and Candied Ginger.
Many of the participants mentioned childhood memories of molasses toffee, and they'll no doubt be happy to see the Molasses and Chocolate Toffee from Carolyn at 18thC Cuisine. It looks super-easy, and no one could (or should) pass up a description like "the most delicious, chewy candy you'll ever eat."
Brenda from Culinary Fool offers the lightest and most unusual entry with her variant on a Moroccan Martini. Can you imagine drinking this on your porch on a chilly summer day? I can (hey, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area; summer days here are chilly)
Let's just take a moment to appreciate Christine's domain name, shall we? While "I Like To Do Stuff..." is probably more accurate, "pookiefatcat" would be a great blog name. Okay, once you're done enjoying her domain name, be sure to check out her super-cute mini shoo-fly pies.
Raise your hand if you know what a Parkin is. Anyone? Other than Nicola from A Sprinkle of Sequins? Maybe you're all more up on English food than I, but I had never heard of this British bar cookie. I always get to learn new things when reading everyone's entries, so now I look forward to the day when a trivia contest hinges on my newfound knowledge about a Parkin.
Though most cookie entries tended towards the thin and crisp, Alice from My Adventures in the Breadbox contributed the thick, chewy kind. I almost opted for a chewy molasses cookie, and as I read Alice's entry I wonder if I made the right choice. They sound so good.
Andy from Minor Gourmandry made a great dish from epicurious, but I can't get to his site right now to refresh my memory about it. Keep an eye on his site, and I'll re-post once he's up.
I've seen Molly's Orangette mentioned here and there, but I hadn't made time to check it out yet. After reading her sweet ode to an overseas friend, I'll definitely be back to her site soon. Sure, the Ginger-Molasses Cookies look good, but the personality in her post is the best ingredient.
Lynn from To Short Term Memories made her Indian Pudding on short notice and far from her normal kitchen. How do people do that? Sounds like her version is much better warm than cold. Any Indian Pudding experts should drop her a note to see if her recipe is a normal representation of this dish (I couldn't remember).
SHF's lovely founder Jennifer sweetly describes her excitement about me hosting, and her relief that I didn't choose foie gras as a theme. I wish I had thought of that; the write-up would have gone more quickly. The rest of her post naturally has a well-written sensual memory centered around her Molasses Sponge Candy.
Cathy from my little kitchen joins the Indian Pudding contingent and offers not only a recipe but what history she can about this New England staple.
What do you call gingersnaps when you forget the ginger? Mia from The Skinny Epicurean settles on "spicy snaps" at the end of a humorous post that describes her many, uh, modifications to the recipe she started with.
I love these food-blogging cooking events in part because I get to learn about other cultures and lives. I enjoyed reading Nupur from One Hot Stove's description of her childhood memories of molasses from growing up in a sugar-producing region. The Gooey Gajar Halwa, of course, captivated me as well, and I'm sure you'll find it as intriguing as I do.
Alice from My Epicurean Debauchery submitted her post by proxy. Sounds like she's away at the moment, but I'm glad she had someone else tell me about her Baked Molasses Sesame Donuts with a Pomegranate Molasses Glaze. I like the look of the sesame seeds sprinkled throughout the crumb.
I can sympathize with chefdoc from the attractive A Perfect Pear when he comments on a busy week. If only we could just cook for our blogs all day instead of going to work! I'm glad he made time to contribute his Molasses Marvels cookies, a family favorite.
Gemma from Part-Time Pro Bono Baker jazzes up her Molasses Snaps with banana ice cream to create a delicious-sounding entry from this first-time SHF participant. Be sure to stop by and welcome her!
New food bloggers Mrs. D & Chopper Dave from Belly-Timber created an attractive and intriguing Molasses and White Wine Zabaglione with Molasses Brittle, which they served in wine glasses. Their post's detours into food science and culinary school anecdotes are as much fun as the post itself. Welcome to the world of food blogging, and we can't wait to see what else you concoct!
Despite being on vacation in California, I Amos from the Brooklyn Bridge User Group made Gingerbread with Lemon Icing. As of this writing, she hasn't told anyone how it tastes, so be sure and write her to ask. Also, check out the photos of the "Mutant Lemons" she used for the icing.
The Fig & Molasses Conserve somehow seems like an appropriate entry from Viv at Seattle Bon Vivant. She always strikes me as someone with a deep love for preserves of all kinds. I'll remember her combination of figs and molasses for future inspiration, though I doubt anything I do will look as pretty.
Jeanne from Cook sister! was one of the last entries in, but I was happy to see her email. None of her regular readers will be surprised to find a childhood joke about how molasses got its name and a lengthy, informative post about treacle before she offers up a recipe for Black Treacle Scones.
I'm still awaiting The Headhunter's picture of the Boston Brown Bread she made for SHF. Her nostalgia makes the post sweet, even if the dish technically isn't.
This SHF is Aileen from Cooking for Kodiak's first food blogging event, so be sure to give her a warm welcome. She combined molasses-rich Aebleskivers with a Spruce Tip Syrup to create what sounds like an evocative dish. Carolyn also alluded to a traditional combination of molasses and spruce, which I had never heard of before. I'm always intrigued by unusual flavorings, though I don't think we have much in the way of spruce here in the Bay Area.
After reading everyone's great entries, my first SHF entry of Cacao Nib Gingerbread seemed pretty plain, but Melissa and I are still chomping away at it.
I think that's everyone, but please let me know if I omitted you or if you notice any mistakes. Thanks again for participating. I know I'll never look at that bottle of molasses in my cabinet the same way again.