These cookies are a little more laborious than my preferred cookie recipes but it is totally worth it! I’ve never made button or thumbprint cookies but I thought I’d give it a try! I was super pleased with the way that these came out! Normally, molasses and other liquid sweeteners like honey have a tendency to spread the dough as it bakes and it can create really moist but very flat cookies. These cookies are fantastic and moist but hold their shape very well. I think they’re really cute and they’d make a great cookie for a holiday cookie exchange once we don’t have to worry about covid-19.
The trick here is the two-hour chill in between making the dough and baking it. It may be tough to wait if you’re impatient like me but I found that taking a nice long walk made the two hours pass by in a breeze! The cookie also uses two different kinds of sugar, brown and turbinado or raw sugar. The difference is that the “raw” sugar comes in large, golden crystals that the dough is rolled in at the end to create a distinctive “sparkle” on the outside. Rolling them in the “raw” sugar is an easy way to give them a little pizzaz. This “raw” sugar is available in most grocery stores in the baking aisle, you just may have to hunt for it a little bit. I also filled these cookies with two different fillings. If you look closely at the pictures, there’s a slight color difference that gives it away. For about half, I used leftover chocolate ganache from my Chocolate Cake recipe from a couple weeks back. For the other half, I used the filling from the recipe. Below, I’ve doubled this amount because the original recipe amount only filled half of my cookies… They’re easy to overfill so go easy on the filling at first, you can always go back in and refill if needed. I hope that you find this recipe as delectable as I did and happy baking!
Spiced Molasses Chocolate Buttons Recipe
For the Dough
195 grams (1 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons) All Purpose flour
35 grams (6 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
142 grams (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
106 grams (1/2 cup packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
85 grams (1/4 cup) molasses
100 grams turbinado sugar to coat
For the filling
57 grams (1/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate (I used semisweet chocolate chips and it seemed to not be too sweet)
28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chopped into smaller pieces
1/2 teaspoon molasses
Sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and all spice in a medium bowl.
Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy in a separate, large bowl. Beat in the egg until well mixed then add and mix in the molasses.
In two additions, mix together the dry and wet ingredients in the larger bowl until well-blended. Scrape the bowl then refrigerate the dough in the bowl for two hours. To retain the moisture, cover with cling wrap.
When ready to bake, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.
Pour turbinado sugar onto a plate or bowl. Using a tablespoon scoop, scoop and portion the dough into balls. Roll in the sugar until covered completely. Place on the baking sheet about 1 1/2 inch apart. (They spread while baking but not by much)
Bake until set around the edges but still soft in the middle, 10 or 11 minutes depending on the strength of your over. Remove from oven and using a spoon, create a deep indent in the middle of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake 5-6 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pans on a wire rack.
To make the filling, place the chocolate and butter together in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave in thirty second intervals until melted. Mix well between intervals (I have a terrible microwave and it only took me a minute to melt it) Once melted and mixed together, stir in the molasses.
Transfer the filling to a ziplock bag or a pastry bag. Snip a corner off the ziplock bag and fill each cookie. Let sit at room temperature until the filling is firm. Enjoy!
For the Fourth of July (I know this post is wee bit behind the curve) I decided to tackle pie! I’ve never liked pie all that much but I know that it’s revered as an American classic by many, including my boyfriend. The only pie I can remember enjoying was my cousin’s strawberry and rhubarb pie that had crunch but still melted in the mouth.
I ventured into the realm of fruit pie for the fourth with the help of Los Angeles food writer, Ben Mims. In the food section from the Los Angeles times, Mr. Mims extolled the virtue of this simply made blueberry pie and I had to try it. Be warned, this pie took three days from start to finish. It’s not a particularly complicated recipe but it takes a long time to set. Mr. Mims was also very specific on the way certain things should be done such as the washing of the blueberries and the preparation of the crust and I followed his directions to a T.
On July 2nd, I made the crust and on the 3rd, I made the filling. Following the recommendation of Mr. Mims, I allowed the pie to set overnight before serving it for our Fourth of July lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of my family because we are collectively not big on pie. I found that the amount of cornstarch was slightly overwhelming and made the blueberry gel too jelly-like but my mother thought it was just fine. I found that if made again, I would make some minor modifications but for now, here is the recipe for my lovely Fruit Pie for the Fourth of July.
Blueberry Pie Recipe
For the Crust
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ cubes, (113 grams)
For the Filling
2 pounds and 2 ounces blueberries, cleaned
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Topping
12 ounces cold heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To Make the Crust
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and use fingers to rub the butter in until the mixture forms pea sized crumbles (can use the food processor to do this as well)
Add 1/3 cup ice water and toss the mixture with a fork until it begins to come together.
Turn out the crumbly mass and pat together. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Unwrap the dough and roll out to an 11″ circle that is 1/8″ thick. Flour this circle and roll it around the rolling pin.
Let the dough fall over the 9″ pie plate or tin, letting gravity pull the dough down to fill in the tin. Don’t push the dough in, the thinness of the dough means that it may rip if you do so.
Trim the dough until there is 1/2″ of dough left hanging around the edges of the pie plate. Fold this additional dough over the rim of the pie plate, creating a double layer of crust at the top. Crimp with fingers or a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425F and crumple up some aluminum foil. Reflatten the ball and place it over the frozen pie crust. Add in about 4 cups of pie weights or rice or lentils to where the entire pie crust is filled (I did not do this and part of my crust slipped down, see the above picture)
Bake crust until the edges turn light brown, about 25 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven in order to remove the pie weights. Turn the temperature down to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
For the Filling
Reserve 1/3 cup of blueberries and place the rest in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the filtered water and mix until smooth. Add the reserved blueberries. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mix thickens to a stiff gel, about 5 minutes.
Once thickened, stir gel to break up blueberries to color the gel about one minute more. The gel should turn a dark magenta.
Remove the gel from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract while still hot.
Pour the gel over the large bowl of blueberries and use a large rubber spatula to fold the gel into the blueberries until they are fully coated.
Immediately spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust, mounding it up slight. In between spoonfuls, stir the blueberries to make sure the gel doesn’t coagulate on the bottom.
Smooth the berries and let cool while preparing the topping
For the Topping
Beat the heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Once the blueberry filling is cooled, top with the whipped cream and decorate as desired. You can pipe it out over the filling for a neater look or pile it on the filling for a more rustic look.