Whew! I'm a day late for Tuesday's with Dorie this week. I've been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off for the past week!
I collaborated with my brother-in-law on the mother-of-all-Halloween-costume-paper-mache-projects. (I'll give an atta-boy to anyone who can guess what this is supposed to be. I know, it's kind of obscure.)
Then there were two batches of caramel corn to make. (By the way, it's so good and completely addictive. I'll share the recipe below.)
Throw in a 3rd grade concert...
... and school Halloween parties,
... and last but not least, my 30-foot long former weed patch. This is the last chance I'll get to work some organic matter into our lovely clay soil before winter, so I've been digging, digging, digging.
Among other things, I need a home for my strawberry plants that I foolishly thought I could contain in pots. I started with two plants, which multiplied to at least twenty. (Any and all strawberry growing tips are welcome as I obviously don't know what I'm doing.)
So anyway, that's my big long list of excuses why I'm late getting my Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies posted. Thanks so much to Pamela of Cookies with Boys for picking an easy recipe. Also, thanks to Laurie for allowing the Tuesday's with Dorie bakers to bake the recipes out of order this month. Pamela's pick isn't until later in the month, but it was the easiest one for me.
In a word, these cookies were fantastic! If you like molasses and fall spices, that is.
I really liked the method for making them too. I've never turned out such a perfectly uniform batch of cookies!
First, we were to chill the dough. Then cut into uniform sized pieces and roll into balls. A bath in sugar prepped them for the pan, where a (go Bengals!) glass was used to smoosh them down.
And voila! perfect cookies!
I will definitely make these again (and again). If you'd like to see the recipe, please check out Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours" or check out Pamela's site.
I would rate this at a medium difficulty recipe due to the hot caramel mixture.
3 quarts popped corn (I popped kernel corn on the stove. I'm not sure if this would work with microwave popcorn, but if you want to try, I wouldn't recommend a buttered version.)
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. dark or light corn syrup (I used dark)
1/2 C. margarine (I used 3 oz. butter and it was fine.)
1/2 tsp. salt
chopped nuts or peanuts (optional... quantity is to taste)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Butter a 9" x 13" pan. (Note, I doubled the recipe and used a 12" x 18" pan.)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Pop your corn and spread evenly in the pan. Sprinkle nuts over top, if using. Have it nearby and ready when the sugar mixture is done boiling.
Bring the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir well as it froths up.
Pour sugar mixture evenly over the top of the popcorn. Stir the popcorn as best you can, but don't worry if the caramel mixture isn't evenly spread over all popcorn. It will distribute as you bake and stir later on.
Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Use a wide wooden spoon or spatula when you stir. Try to scrape up any fallen sugar from the bottom and turn over the popcorn. If some of the sugar sticks to the spoon, try to scrape it off and lay over any dry looking areas. Stir gently as the popcorn wants to spill out of the pan.