Baking - Cookies, Ingredient Insights

Not All Sweeteners are Created Equal

Honey, Molasses and Maple Syrup, some yummy sweeteners!
Honey, Molasses and Maple Syrup, some yummy sweeteners!

One of my favourite kind of cookies growing up was called Chewy Honey Cookies. I love chewy cookies to begin with, and also love honey, so when I would bite into a chewy honey cookie it was the best of both worlds. I can remember sucking the honey out of the cookie as I chewed it, like an extra shot of sweet with every bite. So yummy!

I once wanted to make a nice chewy molasses cookie, so I asked my mom if she had a good recipe. She copied it down for me, and as I looked at it I noticed that it was almost the exact same recipe as for chewy honey cookies. The only difference, other than the molasses/honey, was that it called for ginger instead of vanilla.

We recently bought a very big jug of maple syrup, and as I craved some cookies the other night I thought I might try substituting maple syrup for the honey to see what would happen. It’s a pretty similar consistency, and since you could do it with molasses I figured it might work just as well; and it did! They came out very soft and chewy, with a very subtle maple flavour. But there was something about them that wasn’t quite as satisfying as the honey and molasses ones. It took me a while to put my finger on it, or my tongue as the case was.

The recipe calls for two teaspoons of baking soda as the leavening agent. If you have ever accidentally used baking soda in a recipe instead of baking powder, you may have noticed your baking had a strong kind of bitter salty taste. I really don’t like that taste, and that’s what I was tasting. I don’t remember tasting it when using molasses or honey for these cookies. I think because molasses and honey have pretty strong flavours of their own, they are able to cover up the taste of the baking soda; however, maple syrup has a more delicate flavour, so it can’t cover it up in the same way. If I make them again I will probably try to use baking powder, adjusting the quantity accordingly, to see if that makes a difference and makes the maple flavour pop out a bit more. I think it would be similar if you substituted agave, which also has a very mild flavour. So if you decide to substitute the sweetener in a recipe, make sure you test it to see how it works and tastes!

Chewy Maple Cookies
Chewy Maple Cookies
Baking - Cookies

Prolific Pumpkin

Well, the new babe has been here for just over six weeks, and although the baking has not been as frequent, it has been happening as we adjust to our bigger family. The problem right now is not so much the baking, but finding the time and arm freedom to post! But here I go, doing what I can when I can, even if it is typed with one hand!

We have been getting some lovely squash and pumpkins in our veggie boxes as the fall continues on, and I have been trying to make more of an effort to not have anything go to waste from our boxes. So I often cook up a pumpkin, puree it, and then freeze it in half cup sizes for use in various recipes. I have a pumpkin muffin recipe I recently made, and could have eaten the whole dozen in one sitting if I let myself.

But the recipe I have been most pleased to discover this year is a pumpkin molasses cookie that is so soft and delicious I literally have to hide them or they’re gone in no time. I found the recipe when I wanted to make something for a trip to my grandparents’. You can find the recipe here, but I made one little adjustment, and that was to use a 1/2 tsp of baking soda instead of 2, because 2 tsp seemed like a lot to me, and they turned out just fine. Better than fine, scrumptious in fact! This is definitely a new favourite!

pumpkin molasses cookies (2)