Sunday, March 8, 2015

Marie-Grace’s Chocolate Coffee Molasses Cookies

A cakey, old fashioned cookie with a great frosting!

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just kind of cursed when it comes to food from Louisiana. Most of the recipes I've made for Marie Grace and Cécile - well, okay, maybe not most, because we've definitely had some huge successes - have been time consuming and kind of disastrous to make, and so I tend not to feature these two as much as I should on the blog. That's kind of a bummer, because food from this neck of the woods tends to be pretty tasty, and I'd definitely like to find more room to showcase it here.

Unfortunately, this isn't one of the bigger success stories. While I did have some taste testers who were big fans of this recipe, it wasn't something I wound up enjoying much at all, and I don't think I'll be making these cookies again. That said, if you're into old fashioned cookies that aren't too sweet and have a very subtle spice to them, this might be the one for you! This particular combination just wasn't my favorite.

... And with that stellar introduction, let's move on to the recipe!

Chocolate and coffee is a pretty classic flavor combination at this point. People like to say that coffee helps bring out the richness in the chocolate, and while I agree in some recipes, in others, I think there's too much coffee and not enough chocolate. Coffee's not really my favorite ingredient.

However, I am definitely a fan of molasses cookies, so I was excited to see that part of the recipe at least.

Our recipe came from and can be found here! This is the same website I got the chocolate chess pie recipe from, and I was eager to give these a whirl even though I haven't really been able to find any information about what makes this a specifically Cajun recipe. These are definitely popular southern flavors, though!

You start off by melting one cup of dark chocolate over a medium-low heat. I stirred mine constantly instead of just leaving it alone to try and make sure it wouldn't burn. I mashed together two sticks of softened butter and one and a half cups of sugar together, and then added the chocolate (after it cooled!), a half cup of molasses, three eggs, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. This all got mixed together to make a rich brown goo.

Next came the dry ingredients. Five cups of flour, one teaspoon of cinnamon, one teaspoon of cloves, two teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt get whisked together and then are slowly added to the wet ingredients. In between additions of flour, add and mix in one cup of cooled brewed coffee.

You're left with a cookie batter that's not too wet, but not too stiff.

I used a melon baller to give them a hopefully even shape. The cookies didn't spread too much on the sheets, so it was easy to cram a lot of them onto each sheet, which is nice when you've got a recipe like this which is going to mean a lot of batches to stick in the oven. They take about ten minutes to bake in a 350 degree oven.

While the cookies tasted fine without frosting, the recipe also comes with a recipe for a pretty delicious, simple frosting for them. You just take two cups of confectioner's sugar, two tablespoons of heavy cream and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, mix it together and apply it to the cookies when they're still a little warm so it gets nice and melty on top of the cookies.

I'll admit it freely: my interest in making recipes again is often directly proportional to how long it took me to make it. You guys know this. And unfortunately, because this recipe made a lot of cookies? It took forever to finish baking them. I was actually kind of overwhelmed by how long this took to make - overall, I think I spent about three hours working with these cookies, and was left with way too many cookies.

Seriously, this made a lot of cookies.

These are just some of them, carefully arranged in a pyramid.

But you're left with some pretty looking results when all is said and done! They definitely look old fashioned, too, even though I'm still not sure of the historical provenance of this particular recipe.

I think the thing that was most disappointing about these was that they just weren't chocolatey enough. After melting an entire cup of straight dark chocolate into this batter, I thought man, these cookies are going to be super rich and chocolatey, especially with the coffee! And they just... weren't. Really, they looked cute, the texture was great, and the frosting was super tasty - very sweet and full of vanilla flavor. I do also really like cakey cookies sometimes, and these had a great, spongy texture.

They just really weren't flavorful! I know I keep harping on this, but I seriously feel like these just tasted like a bland chocolate cookie or a bland molasses or spice cookie, instead of a really great cookie. There were a lot of different ingredients in here, and you could taste all of them, but they just weren't powerful enough to make this a really stand out recipe, and it's definitely not something I really wanted to waste calories on when I could be eating ice cream or a war cake.

But that being said? I brought these cookies into work, and either my coworkers were lying to spare my feelings - I always worry about this, because especially with desserts, people don't seem to give me critical feedback as often as praise, so I'm never sure if it's genuine or just lying to make me feel better - or they genuinely enjoyed the cookies. I asked what they liked about them, and they said they really reminded them of old fashioned cookies they grew up eating, and liked that the flavors were all subtle. They enjoyed that the frosting was very sweet while the cookie was much milder, because it gave a difference in flavor and sweetness that made them pleasant instead of overwhelmingly sugary. The frosting was definitely the knock out star though - everyone kept asking what was in it and made faces of absolute glee when I told them. When I went to retrieve the container I packed them in, I discovered most of them had been devoured

So while these weren't a hit with me, they definitely were a hit with my coworkers! Because of that - and the fact that I really emphasized that I wanted critical feedback and they still insisted they were good! - I can't entirely rule these out as cookies that might be worth giving a shot if you're looking for a subtly spicy, sweet cookie with a knock out frosting glaze. Let me know what you think if you give this recipe a spin for yourself!

Maybe you'll enjoy them more than I did!

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