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Holiday Baking Woes and Wonders

Gingerbread cookies

I have found molasses in Hong Kong. Let the holiday baking commence!

Or should it? Did you know there are three types of molasses? There is light, dark and black strap. In my holiday haste and excitement, I failed to read the full label as there was only one jar left on the shelf, so I snagged it. I headed for home and started making my ginger bread cookies http://bamskitchen.com/desserts/gingerbread-girls-and-boys/. I came to a full halt when I started to pour the molasses out of the jar. It was super thick and super dark and not anything like Mrs. Baer Rabbits Full flavour molasses in the orange jar.

gingerbread hulu girls

I had inadvertently purchased crude black strap molasses. You know the kind that is used for medicinal treatment of various ailments, savoury dishes and used in the deep south for baked beans and even a supplement in cattle feed.

Black strap molasses

Did you also know that molasses can be used as the principal ingredient for distillation of rum and used in making certain dark beers like stouts? Did you know molasses can be used as an iron supplement? Did you know it can be used as a chelating ingredient for removing rust and also an a minor ingredient for mortar and brickwork? So it has that going for it.

Gingerbread cookies

So how is all of that going to help me make my gingerbread cookies? I made batch of my cookies using the black strap molasses one for one just as I used the dark Mrs. Baer Rabbit's brand. I baked a couple of cookies for a test batch and they came out slightly bitter. Good tasting by just not sweet enough. I then began to experiment with different combinations of molasses and brown sugar combinations and found if I used only 1/4 cup black strap molasses and one cup dark brown sugar, it was perfectly balanced. My dear sister gave me a Michigan cookie cutter on her last visit and here are the cookies before they were inhaled by my hungry teenage boys wolverines!

Michigan Gingerbread Cookies

The lesson learned here is that you cannot use black strap molasses in the same way or exchange one for one in recipes that call for dark or light molasses.

Molasses is made by a special process where they take cane sugar plant and break it down and do a boil. The first boil is called "cane sugar" or light molasses and has the most sugar content. The second boil has less sugar content and is little slightly more bitter and is darker in color and is sometimes called dark molasses and this is usually the type of molasses I use in my gingerbread cookies and recipes. The third boil has the least amount of sugar content and is very dark, very robust and has lots of vitamins and minerals and this is called "black strap molasses".

In addition, black strap molasses is an excellent source of manganese and copper. It is a very good source of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Blackstrap molasses also is a good source of vitamin B6 and selenium. So let the holiday baking commence!

gingerbread cookies

Don't let living abroad, living in a remote place or living in a place with only a microwave hamper your holiday plans and traditions. There are ways around everything, it just takes a little creativity.

If you do not own a stove give my snowy bombs a try as you can melt the chocolate in the microwave stir in the ingredient and you done! http://bamskitchen.com/desserts/snowy-chocolate-bombs/

Snowy Chocolate Bombs

My eldest son favorite cookies are peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses. If you have peanut allergies just swap out for almond butter or soy butter and they are just as delicious. http://bamskitchen.com/desserts/hugs-and-peanut-butter-chocolate-kisses-for-santa/

Hugs and Kisses Chocoalte peanut butter kisses

Gluten allergies in your family? No problem as everyone loves a 5 minute rich chocolate pudding. http://bamskitchen.com/desserts/homemade-rich-chocolate-pudding/

Homemade rich and chocolate pudding

My youngest son loves cut out cookies and these are great for bringing into school or for a cookie exchange. http://bamskitchen.com/desserts/prepare-the-visqueen-time-to-make-the-christmas-sugar-cut-out-cookies/

Prepare the visqueen Christmas cutout cookies

Are you looking for a quick and easy way to use up those cranberries? I have a great little holiday cranberry muffin that is super easy and always a crown pleaser. http://bamskitchen.com/dietary-restrictions/glutenfree/cranfusion-red-ruby-gem-muffins/

Cranberry muffins

Are you craving a little chocolate? How about these festive little Christmas tree brownies. http://bamskitchen.com/desserts/double-chocolate-chunk-christmas-tree-brownies/

Christmas Tree Brownies

Are you looking for a healthy gluten free, lactose free and egg free dessert to satisfy your hunger and your chocolate craving?  You do not even need an oven or a microwave for these little chocolate figgy truffles.  http://bamskitchen.com/dietary-restrictions/glutenfree/chocolate-figgy-truffles/

Chocolate figgy truffles

Happy Baking and Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

LESS THAN 30 MINUTE DINNERS

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Holiday Baking Woes and Wonders

By HWC Magazine  ,

December 7, 2013

00:00
  • Look at your lovely cookies and treats! Bam’s Kitchen is in full holiday mode I see! I don’t use molasses too much so it’s nice to have this guide, I will be reading the labels if I ever need to purchase some. I tend to hunt down our British black treacle when I need molasses type stuff. Your gingerbread people are so cute and festive! Have a great weekend, Bam!

  • Loved your post…I have sometimes used blackstrap molasses and it is so different than the “type 2” which I also usually use…but you did get a lovely dark color to your cookies. And creativity usually beats all of the hardships 🙂

  • kitchenriffs

    Your top photo is totally my mom – the flour accents are the same that were on her gingerbread cookies. I did know that molasses was the basis of rum, but haven’t done much with black strap. So interesting the different properties of various grades of molasses. Thoroughly entertaining read – thanks.

  • Well Done!!
    Lol! I didn’t know there were so many uses for blackstrap molasses, now you can ad gingerbread men to the list 🙂
    They look beautiful 🙂

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    Aren’t you the clever one to experiment until you got them right! I love these cookies.

  • Carlyn

    I enjoyed your post!

  • Pam M.

    These look great–I can almost smell them.
    (After Ken’s past gangnam style gingerbread decorating, I was expecting to see one “twerking”.)

  • Such great recipes – but I have to admit, the peanut butter kisses are my favorite. Love holiday baking!!

  • Thanks for sharing all the cookie recipes! I did know that blackstrap molasses was very healthy for you–never tried making cookies with it, though! 🙂

  • So many splendid treats, how is a girl to choose? I think I’d start with the brownie then quickly move to the gingerbread. I adore gingerbread and haven’t made any yet. Lucky, lucky boys!!

  • That’s a ton of cookies.

  • what a fab baking line-up! Can’t decide which is my fav – they all look amazing 🙂

  • I have the same ‘black strap molasses’ situation here, so my experiments took me to using 2/3 honey and 1/3 black strap, it works so well. Beautiful cookies! I need a good gingerbread cookie recipe and they look perfect!

    • Bams Kitchen

      I am glad I am not the only one with these kitchen woes. I am deligted to hear the honey and molasses combo worked for you. I might have to give my next batch a try with your suggestion. Have a super week. BAM

  • Who knew all that about molasses? What ailments is it supposed to help with because I’m sure I must have something it could help?
    You are so far ahead of me in the Christmas baking department – I’m only starting to think about what I might put together for our Christmas Eve & for edible neighbor gifts.
    I have a favor to ask – I’ve been looking through your categories & I’m pretty sure you had the recipe for the S. African Boboti (spelling on that?). Any chance you could shoot me a link? I made it a while ago & we loved it and it’s time for repeating.

    • Bams Kitchen

      The link for the South African bootie is… http://bamskitchen.com/mains/beef/south-african-bobotie/. I am so glad your family enjoyed that recipe. A great one for gatherings as it can be made ahead. I just adore your new Kitchen Diane. I think if you liked to cook before, you are going to love it now. Have a super holiday season. Take Care, BAM

  • oh my gosh these look so gorgeous.

  • Those cookies look terrific.
    Just looking at the pictures makes my mouth water!

  • Jo (http://blog-diggidy.com)

    A little something for everyone, eh… Fabulous! Those gingerbread cookies look and sound delish! Love me some dark, rich molasses! But yes, one must watch what kind she uses!! 🙂

  • I remember cooking in France about 30 years ago (when grocery stores weren’t so international) and having a hard time finding a few basic ingredients. I’m glad these turned out for you!

  • I love Christmas baking. And these gingerbread folks. Great post on molasses, too! I think it is adventurous cooking in different countries. I love going to the variety of markets and seeing what I can come up with!

  • This entire post is a bonus, BAM! Loved hearing about your adventure with blackstrap molasses. You eased us into the Christmas mode with the baking of gingerbread and then, kaboom!, you gave us an extraordinary list of links (and great photos) to other holiday recipes. I’ve already got my eye and mind on a couple of them. Then, I read your comments and someone asked for the link to SA Bobotie which I had forgotten. How could I have forgotten. It was only March when you presented it to us. I made it and it is wonderful. Time to make it again!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Kathleen. How is your holiday baking coming along? Are the grandkids visiting soon to give you a hand? This is perfect weather for bobotie. I love to make a double batch. One bobotie for today and freeze one for a really busy day that you don’t have time to be in the kitchen. Have a safe and happy holiday season. Take Care, BAM

      • Didn’t do much baking, BAM. I spent three weeks in Maryland with my son. Then, the day we got back, I came down with a cold that lasted five days–right through Christmas. I did manage to make the traditional Candy Cane Cookies* for my son and he did most of the cooking for my Christmas Eve family supper. Christmas day I rested and rested, and finally am recovered. Hope your holidays were blessed and joyful!
        (*Sneeze, wash hands, work on cookies, sneeze, wash hands… my hands were so dry after all that washing. But, at least no one caught my germs!)

        • Bams Kitchen

          Dear Kathleen, I am happy that you were able to visit family but sort to hear that you were not feeling well. Will miss Step by step in the kitchen but hoping that you are keeping up CORNING NY STEP BY STEP. hugs coming your way! BAM

  • Wow, didn’t know molasses had so many uses. I’m not even go into the details of all the mishaps that came my way, but as long as it works out in the end, that great. Love the cookies 🙂

  • An outrageous range of holiday baking BAM. I am very impressed. I have never used molasses. I must rectify that.
    Best,
    Conor

  • I loved this post!! It made me hungry!

  • Back in the Philippines I had a hard time looking for molasses as well and when I asked someone in the supermarket before they said is that the one used as a cattle or horse feed. So since then I never thought of using it until I moved here in NZ where it is commonly used in baking.

  • The Christmas tree brownie is my favorite.

  • Lots of wonderful suggestions for holiday goodies. You were so clever to work out the problem with the molasses.

  • Buona sera, BAM! Putting aside your fabulous cookies for a moment, your reference to your boys as hungry “wolverines” caught my eye. Could they be? When I saw the Michigan cookie, I knew that yes, you’re a U of M family. Go Blue, indeed! 🙂
    What a variety of cookies, BAM. There’s something here for all tastes. I’m with your Son, though, and love peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss on top. They’re both cookie and chocolate candy, the best of both worlds. Thanks, too, for the molasses lesson. I’ve never cooked with it and when I do, I’ll know to look at what I’m buying. Up until now, I didn’t realize there was more than 1 kind. Up until a fw minutes ago, I would have just grabbed a jar and, like you, wouldn’t have known any better until I went to use it. 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Buona sera John and Go Blue! How is the weather in Chicago? I will try to send some warm breezes from Hong Kong your way. You probably did not know but not until I moved to Asia did cooking turn into such an ordeal. It is so easy to cook and bake in the USA as you have everything you need and many options to choose from. It is downright painful trying to cook Western food or bake in Asia. I guess that is why I cook so many Asian dishes. Wishing you a blessed holiday and happy cooking!

  • OMG, those cookies are so cute! Awesome tutorial & love the way you drew those faces!

  • Awesome tutorial on molasses! I definitely learned a lot. I love making gingerbread cookies but I hate the part of rolling them out. They’re still on my list do do this season…procrastination yes. 🙂

  • I never knew about the different types of molasses! These cookies look great!

  • ohlidia

    Everything looks fabulous Bam! Especially those beautifully decorated gingerbread men and women. Whenever a recipe calls for molasses, they always say “not black strap”. I never knew what that was, having never seen it. Now, I know!

  • Congratulations BAM! You have been awarded:
    — Most Influential Blogger Award —
    I take pleasure in directing readers to blogs I enjoy. You have been awarded at:
    http://fae-magazine.com/2013/12/11/awards-december-2013part-2/
    … Or, after a month, look for it
    here >> http://fae-magazine.com/awards/2013-blog-awards/
    Enjoy your Award!
    Wishing you and yours the Happiest of the Holiday Season! 😀 Fae.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Fae for thinking of me! Wishing you a super holiday! BAM

  • What a fantastic post Bam! I learned a lot about Molasses and even more about the long list of delicious treats you have to offer us hear at the holidays. Way to stay with the gingerbread cookie baking…I would have given up and you persevered!

  • Look at all your goodies!! I love cut-out cookies, but I have no decorating patience!! My hubby brews beer, so I actually knew that molasses is used to make stouts 🙂

  • Wow Bam! so much holiday baking!! you’re all set for Christmas! Glad you stuck out on the gingerbread cooking baking..
    I didnt know that black molasses could cure ailments! First time hearing that here..Now I know what to avoid!

  • Kumar’s Kitchen

    such a feast of baked goodies…we are drooling,great to learn about molasses,thanks for sharing & Very Happy Baking 🙂

  • Hehe, “black strap” molasses must be what we call “Black Treacle” in England. Not sure if “light molasses” is the same as our Golden Syrup, is it? No idea, but I’ve always found both an absolutely indispensable ingredient in so many baking recipes, but I can definitely see that the wrong kind might throw a spanner in the works, somewhat! 😀

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hi there Charles! Do you use Black Treckle to make your Christmas pudding? I do not know if golden syrup and light molasses are the same but that would be another good experiment for us to conduct in our kitchens. Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday. Take Care, BAM

  • I actually didn’t know about Molasses until not a long ago…one recipe required it and I was like what’s that? 😀 I don’t think we can find it easily in Japan too (or maybe there are and I didn’t know). Love your holiday cookies! So festive! Hope you’re enjoying this holiday season!

  • Oh wow, you make really cute gingerbread men/women!

  • Oh BAM you learnt a lot didn’t you! I have heard of adding molasses (or treacle) to beer so that makes sense. An dI remember some of the posts you mentioned. But most of all I like your positivity and approach to life. Happy New Year x

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Claire for your kind comment. I really did learn a lot about molasses while testing here in Bam’s Kitchen. Sometimes some of the best inventions are made of necessity. Wishing you a very warm and safe holiday season. BAM

  • What a wonderful and mouthwatering array of treats, Bam! So happy to see you’ve highlighted some of great qualities of molasses, they are rich in minerals and vitamins…and each type has a unique use:)

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