Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Molasses takes over!

My favorite holiday ingredient!  Molasses!

I have never baked, cooked, mixed with this ingredient before this year.  And now that molasses has been introduced into my kitchen, I will never give it back.

This handy little ingredient can be mixed in many dishes, but it is probably most famous for what it brings to Gingerbread.  I have made Pumpkin Gingerbread, Gingerbread Ornaments, Gingerbread House, Gingerbread Spiced Chex Mix, and now the most recent addition to the Gingerbread family (drum roll please!)...Gingerbread Pancakes...for dinner.  Brilliant!

Gingerbread Pancakes with Baked Apples

2 apples, cored and sliced
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons molasses

Preheat oven to 400*.  Place apples in buttered oven-safe dish and bake for about 20 minutes while you prepare and cook the rest of the meal.

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Mix all wet ingredients together.  Combine wet to dry.  Drop onto non-stick griddle heated over medium heat by 1/2 cupfuls.  (Makes approximately 8 pancakes.)

When finished preparing pancakes, remove apples from oven and serve 3 or 4 slices on top of each pancake.

We also served our pancakes-for-dinner with a side of Cheesy Polenta.  It just occurred to me that I have never posted about making polenta...one of my very favorite dishes.  Polenta deserves a whole post...so stay tuned!

Last night's dinner was concocted with the help of molasses as well.  As Mr. Kummerow and I hiked 5 miles in the bitter cold yesterday, we formulated dinner plans in our heads.  Oddly enough, despite the cold temps, Mr. Kummerow was in the mood for some BBQ.  We did our best with Amy's All American Veggie Burgers grilled on the George Foreman.  We cut up some potatoes with my handy-dandy old-fashioned fry cutter and baked them in a 400* oven for 35 minutes...pumping up the heat to broil for the last 2 or 3 minutes. 

Finally, I whipped up this masterpiece to serve alongside our burger and fries and give us a true BBQ feel (btw, we call BBQ anything that is cooked on a grill- not just BBQ sauced things).

BBQ Not-Baked Beans

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

In small sauce pan, combine all ingredients except beans and bring to a slight boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Add beans and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until beans are soft and all flavors are well combined. 

Dinner was delicious.  We served our burgers on mini-everything bagels with lettuce and tomato.  Fries were sprinkled with salt and drenched dipped in ketchup.  And the beans floated on the plate mixing with all the other goodies and bringing that rich BBQ sauce flavor to everything!  The only thing missing was coleslaw.  I even have cabbage in the fridge but didn't think of it until it was too late!  Bummer. 

I urge you to bring molasses to your kitchen as well.  It is an ingredient that doesn't disappoint!  What dishes have you used molasses in?

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