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It’s National Molasses Bar Day, so consider whipping up a batch of chewy molasses bar cookies.
This recipe, from Grandma’s Molasses, ups the chewiness and nutrition by adding nuts and dried dates. Walnuts are popular, and pistachios and dates are a classic Middle East combination; but you can use any nut you favor.
For a special dessert tonight, top a bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
RECIPE: DATE NUT MOLASSES BARS
Ingredients For 32 Bars
1 cup enriched flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup shortening, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup nuts, chopped
1 package/7 ounces pitted dates, finely chopped
Date, nut and molasses bars. Photo courtesy Grandma’s Molasses.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.
2. SIFT together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
3. COMBINE the egg, sugar, molasses, shortening and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, nuts and dates.
4. LINE a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan with wax paper, greased and lightly floured. Pour in the batter and bake 40 minutes or until done.
5. TURN out onto cooling rack; remove the wax paper. When cool, cut into 32 bars. Store in an airtight container.
Dark molasses. Photo courtesy Michigan Sugar Co.
WHAT IS MOLASSES?
Molasses is thick syrup produced as a by-product during the refining of sugar cane. Molasses is the residue that is left after the sugar crystals are extracted (i.e., molasses is produced when no more sugar may be economically crystallized by conventional means).
Molasses is predominantly sucrose, with some glucose and fructose. It is 65% as sweet as sugar. The better grades of molasses, such as New Orleans drip molasses and Barbados molasses, are unreprocessed and contain more sucrose, making them lighter in color. They are used in cooking and confectionery and in the production of rum.
Light molasses comes from the first boiling of the cane. It is also called sweet molasses and is used as pancake syrup or a sweetener.
Dark molasses comes from the second boiling. It is more flavorful and less sweet than light molasses, and often used for gingerbread and spice cookies.
Treacle is the British term for dark molasses; light molasses is called golden syrup.
Blackstrap molasses, the lowest grade, comes from the third boiling; it is strong and bitter, and mainly used in mixed cattle feed and in the manufacture of industrial alcohol.
Sulfured molasses has had sulfur dioxide added as a preservative (or, the sulfur in the manufacturing process is retained in the molasses).
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