Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Molasses Spice Cookies and Skillet Tamale Pie

Gingerbread is on my short list of favorite things in the world to eat, so I decided to bake Molasses Spice Cookies (pg 437). My thought was that, even if they aren't the greatest molasses-centric cookies I've ever had, I'll probably still like them, since I'm perfectly happy eating molasses with a spoon, direct from the jar.

The size information in this recipe is wrong. The instructions say to roll 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time in the sugar. I rolled slightly mounded tablespoons-full. My yield was 10 cookies. I was supposed to get 18. I kept re-reading the instructions, thinking I'd confused a teaspoon with a tablespoon, but I didn't. Mine look enormous compared to the cookies pictured in the book. That's fine, but it would annoy me if I were counting calories, because my behemoths can't possibly be the same 100 calories as the dainty little cookies in their picture. 100 calories is a lot for one cookie, no?

Apart from the 1/3rd cup of whole wheat flour, I don't exactly see what the healthy elements are. And let's face it, 1/3rd cup of whole wheat flour is kind of negligible, nutritionally.

At first, I thought the sugar and fat seem to be smaller amounts than a standard cookie, until I realized that it only made ten cookies. It calls for 1/2 cup granulated, plus 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. For fat, it uses 6 tablespoons of butter and one egg yolk. Proportionally, my very unmathematical mind thinks it comes out to the same or more sugar and butter than any other cookie. This hypothesis is supported by a quick scan through my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, in which nearly every cookie recipe has significantly fewer calories than these do. Hmmm. Interesting.
Regardless of their health value, these cookies are delicious. They're crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, are plenty spicy, and actually are a little sweeter than I personally need them to be. Next time I may not roll them in sugar at all.

Conclusion: Love them. I didn't expect to say that. ha!

Once I dropped my expectation that Skillet Tamale Pie (pg 290) should in any way resemble a tamale, dinner was actually decent. "Mild Chili With Cornbread" would be a more accurate name for this. I was a little disappointed, because I've recently become obsessed with tamales. The Navy moved us to Corpus Christi, TX, nearly a year ago. I would never choose to live here. It's close enough to Mexico that we can get some good tamales, though, and I'd really hoped that this dish would, in some way, evoke a tamale. It was not to be.

To make this, you throw chili powder, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, ground beef, black beans, and corn in an oven-safe skillet and cook them. Once they're done, you mix in some cheddar and cilantro (but I forgot to buy cilantro), then pour cornbread batter on top and bake it. Matt doused his in tabasco, but he ate it happily enough.
You can't fool me. You're not even in the tamale family.
Conclusion: I'm going to go so far as to say liked it. Shocker!


  1. I have the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth ginger molasses cookie recipe that I make every Christmas. I can send it to you, if you ever want to compare it with yours.

    Also, tamale pie is totally one of my go-to dinners when I want a good quick meal that feeds lots of people. I seriously keep boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix in my cabinet at all times. I think I got my recipe from Rachel Ray and yeah, it isn't anything like tamales :).

  2. Hi Michelle! YES, I would love your recipe. Especially in winter, I can't shove enough gingerbready stuff in my craw. (A craw IS a mouth, right? Don't want to give anyone the wrong idea. HA!)

  3. The cookies look lovely. The chewier the better in my book. Sorry you were disappointed with the non-tamale pie. Sure looks like it tastes good tho :)

  4. these recipes so far sound like more every day recipes and much healthier than what you were cooking with the Dorie French cook book. Hope they continue to please...