molasses chocolate cordial kisses

You know the peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses in the middle? The slightly salty peanut butter cookie is soft and chewy, and then hello! a sweet solid chocolate enters the center creating a perfect flavor marriage. I love those treats. Here’s my late summer wedding inspired version made with homey molasses cookies and dark chocolate cordials.

I originally posted my Great Aunt Velma’s molasses cookie recipe* when I made molasses cookies with black cherry gelato earlier this year. For this test run, I rolled the spicy dough in pink sugar (~32 cookies when you make the dough balls tablespoon size) and placed dark chocolate cherry cordials and blackberry brandy cordials in the middles as soon as they were done baking (~8 minutes in the oven). The cherry cordials have a definite ooze effect, so it may be appropriate to take a generous bite to save the spiked juices from flowing down your shirt as you crack the chocolate shell. But who said a messy surprise is such a bad thing?

*The first go ’round I failed to follow one of Aunt Velma’s footnotes: place a drop of water on the center of the dough balls before baking. They taste the same, but they seem to crackle evenly with the water droplet.

! cookies

I’m doing some cookie testing, because it’s fun, and because I got this snappy wedding invitation in the mail that also invited guests to contribute a kick-ass cookie to the celebration’s cookie mountain. This couple is awesome, and I want to bestow some worthy-tasting and fun-looking cookies to that sweets sierra.

First up, aesthetics and edible letterpress! I tested out my letter pressed cookie cutters on some basic sugar cookie dough. I have a feeling that a shortbread cookie will better hold shape and impression more than the flopsy sugar cookie recipe. I have it in mind to come up with a cocktail twist on a basic butter cookie inspired by the bride and groom, so TBC…

In the meantime, I tested the letterpress look using the ! cutter/stamp. Sometimes a lone ! is the vaguely perfect expression of a thought or feeling inside of me. In sentences, I try not to use them too much. If it bothers you, you’ll have to either ignore it or forgive me; I get excited.

Remember the Seinfeld Episode where Elaine is accused of haphazardly using exclamation points?

Jerry: You’re out of your mind you know that.

Elaine: What?

Jerry: It’s an exclamation point! It’s a line with a dot under it.

Elaine: Well, I felt a call for one.

Jerry: A call for one, you know I thought I’ve heard everything. I’ve never heard a relationship being affected by a punctuation.

Elaine: I found it very troubling that he didn’t use one.

dot art for future morsels

It’s no secret that fall is my favorite season of the year, but I promise that my niece chose those dot art pages on her own accord. While we sat at the kitchen table working away with paint sticks and colored pencils, she told me about the Jack Be Little and Sugar Pumpkin seeds that started sprouting in her garden outside. How exciting to watch them grow! I thought it might be fun to make polka dot pumpkin cookies inspired by our pictures this fall, but I realized that the color scheme had already influenced a sunbutter rice crispy treat recipe I made yesterday (upcoming post). My sister, fellow lover of fall-time, told me that my niece cut out our bright leaf and pumpkin pictures and strung them together to make a garland for her play kitchen. I’d say the dot art doesn’t fall too far from that tree.

anything is possible

Guess who had the most customers at my sister’s garage sale? That’s right, the 6-year-old selling lemonade and cookies. My nephew is quite the little businessman. He even made sure to charge more for chocolate chip cookies because, “they are most popular.” My favorite transaction was when a neighborhood man asked him if it was possible to get one butterscotch cookie and a large lemonade. My nephew replied, “of course, ANYTHING is possible!”

camaraderie at pix patisserie

During my visit to Portland there were many cherries on top of the sweet sundae of conversation and togetherness with my cousin and her family.  One such example: the luxury of a vanilla bean honey latte and fresh macaron in the morning.  Sitting and talking in the sunlight that flooded through the garage-door windows of a cafe adorned with flocked red wallpaper, Belgian beer, jewel-toned chocolates and stuffed monkeys, my world was enlightened, comforted, and caffeinated at Pix Patisserie with Jenne.

molasses cookies with black cherry gelato

My mom’s cousin from Texas commented on my recent use of molasses: “A staple in every Hoosier’s kitchen!” On that note, I hereby declare a week of molasses recipe-sharing at These cookies come by way of my Great-Grandmother’s Sister-in-Law, Aunt Velma. Though I never knew her, I cannot mistake the smell of these cookies baking in the oven: the combination of cloves and molasses warms the soul.

When I was little, my mom would let me roll the dough balls in a bowl of sugar before placing them on the cookie sheet. For this batch I used some pretty big sparkle sugar, and the added crunch and shimmer was a delightful result (don’t be fooled by the crunch though, these cookies are also soft-middled). Usually paired with a glass of milk or mug of tea, this week at the store there was a bargain on black cherry gelato. Together with that blackstrap molasses cookie, the gelato was transformed into a black forest trifle of molasses sorts. I like to think of it as Blackstrap Forest.

Aunt Velma’s Molasses Cookies

Preheat Oven to 375-degrees

Mix together:
3/4 cups shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
about 2 cups flour

Roll in balls “the size of walnuts” and dip in sugar. Bake 8-10 minutes.