Molasses cookies are only second to peanut butter cookies when it comes to baiting my shy and elusive sweet tooth. I love the richness of molasses, with its earthy, smoky, understated, yet robust, sweetness. And when it comes to the Holidays and the cooler weather that often comes with it, there's something about the season that makes molasses cookies particularly enjoyable in that close your eyes and slowly chew kind of way.
I was originally inspired by Shauna, of gluten-free girl, and her contribution to last November's Gluten Free Ratio Rally. Her molasses cookies were breathtaking, and as I've found that the best way for me to learn when it comes to baking is to do, I promptly made the cookies with wonderful results. And since then, I've followed through on that inspiration and each time I make them, I make them just a little differently, seeing if I can find new ways to make them even more satisfying and interesting to the palate.
And today's combination is exactly that. The spicy warmth of chipotle and turmeric, the maltiness of carob and teff, and the quirky crunch of fig - all things that make me smile. And despite what sounds like a complicated cookie, it's remarkably easy to enjoy. And after you taste your first one, what you may find difficult is self-control.Spicy Molasses Fig Cookies
Gluten-Free, Vegan, & Grain-Free
Active Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: at least 6 hours
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
1/2 c (2 1/4 oz) teff flour
2/3 c (2 1/4 oz) quinoa flour
1/3 c (1 1/3 oz) garbanzo flour
scant 1/2 c (2 oz) arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon whole psyllium husks
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle (optional)
1/2 c (2 1/2 oz) coconut sugar
1/4 c (2 3/4 oz) blackstrap molasses
1/4 c (2/3 oz) ground toasted carob
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/2 c (2 2/3 oz) oil
1/4 c (2 2/3 oz) applesauce
1/4 c (2 oz) pureed black mission figs
2 tablespoons soaking liquid (from figs)
sugar, to garnish
1. To begin, destem about half a cup of dried black mission figs and immerse them in warm water. For an added dimension, you can experiment with soaking them in various liquids, from black tea to port wine to orange juice. Allow them to soak for about 10 minutes, drain, and then puree in a food processor. Set aside two tablespoons of the soaking liquid.
2. Sift all flours, starches, and spices together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients, including coconut sugar, ground flax, and toasted carob until well mixed. If carob is not handy, or perhaps an ingredient you don't prefer to use, you can sub in cocoa powder or simply omit it altogether.
4. Gradually fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients to form a moist, sticky dough. Cover and chill overnight, or at least 6 hours (but no more than 12).
5. When ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Make tablespoon-sized balls of the dough, spaced about 2" apart, and flatten slightly to about 1/2" in height. Garnish with sugar and lightly tap into the dough.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they've spread slightly and the surface has cracked (in a pretty way) and appears dry to the touch. The aroma of the spices should also be filling your kitchen.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. But you don't have to let them get too cool - I find they're best enjoyed warm. They keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container - just make sure they've cooled completely before stowing them away.
|Soaking in an herbal infusion.|
|Fig paste is made.|
|Ready to chill.|
|Only slightly flattened.|
|The cracks give them character.|
Another great thing about these cookies is the texture: part cookie and part brownie. If you flatten them more, they taste like a tender, cakey cookie. But if you leave them rounder, or don't flatten them at all, the inside stays moist and almost fudgey, like a brownie or a cake ball. Two desserts in one: score.
|Soft, mmm-inspiring, cookie magic.|
And refrigerating the dough for at least 6 hours, while it may seem like a hassle to some, is absolutely necessary. I experimented with one batch with different chilling times, from none to 2 hours to 4 hours, and so on. Anything below 6 hours came out with varying degrees of unpleasant crumbliness and that off-putting, dry texture often attributed to gluten-free and/or vegan baked goods. And any longer than 10 or 12 hours, and the texture tended towards mealy. And trust me, the last thing I want to share with you is dry, crumbly, off-putting, or mealy gluten-free and/or vegan baked goods. [wink]
I hope you enjoy these warmingly spicy fig newton/molasses lovechild cookies. I know I certainly do, especially with a warm pot of tea, a tall glass of almond milk, or crumbled over a dish of coconut ice cream. And as we wrap up 2012 and head into 2013, I just want to take this opportunity to say "Thank You." For your support and the motivation you offer me to keep writing and continue sharing the journeys and discoveries of this "canary." It means more than I can say.
And that's saying a lot.