Friday, June 28, 2013

Molassas Sugar Cookies

This recipe really does require vegetable shortening or butter to get the right shape and texture. It is possible to replace half of the flour with white whole wheat flour, though it does result in a more grainy texture. If using regular whole wheat flour, I'd probably stick to subbing out half or less of the all-purpose flour.

3/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar (brown sugar makes a richer flavor)
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 t fine black pepper
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sifted flour
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine shortening, sugar, molasses and egg and beat with mixer.
Sift together salt, and spices; add to first mixture and mix well. Add flour and soda.
Chill dough.  (pack into plastic container, bake within 2 weeks)
Form into 1" balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart. (note: I use a parchment lined cookie sheet and it works fine)
Do not press down.
Bake for 10-11 minutes, rotating pan after about 8 minutes to bake evenly.
Cool on wire rack.

ALTERNATE METHOD
Make two rolls of the dough in waxed paper or parchment paper. Chill, or freeze up to a week, then thaw in the frig until soft enough to slice. Cut into 1/4" - 3/8" slices, dip the top of each slice in powdered sugar, then place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F about 9 minutes. This method produces in a larger, thinner, crispy gingersnap type cookie.

Crispy Coconut Shrimp

When we lived in Oregon we often dined at the local hotel,
The Village Green. They had the most amazing coconut shrimp we'd ever tasted, and it's one of the things we've missed since moving to Texas. After several attempts we think we've managed to duplicate what the hotel serves. The recipe is a bit of work, but definitely worth it! Plan on at least four shrimp per person.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds large brown gulf shrimp (about 30)
1 1/2 c. plain Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 c. shredded coconut
2 eggs or the equivalent egg substitute
13 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 all-purpose flour
spices: garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder
Oil for frying - recommend grape seed, peanut oil, or other vegetable oil

Directions

1. Day 1 - Rinse the shrimp under running water. Clean them if necessary (de-vein, remove shell, leave last segment and tail on).  Pat with paper towel to remove excess water. Place in a glass bowl, cover with about 1 cup of the coconut milk. Toss to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Day 2 - Place shrimp in a colander and allow to drain while you prepare the coating.

3. Process the crumbs and coconut together in a food processor. Pulse until the coconut is fairly fine, but has not all completely lost its texture. Put 1/2 of the mixture in a shallow dish and the other 1/2 set aside in a jar or other container.

4. In the food processor, pulse together the eggs, 4T. coconut milk, 1/4t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. salt, and  t. flour. Pour into a small dish.

5. In a shallow dish, combine the remaining flour, 1t. salt, 1t. pepper, 1/2t. garlic powder, and a dash of chili powder (amount based on your preference for spice).

6. Line a large tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle a little of the coconut mixture on the tray so the shrimp are not laying directly on the paper.

Arrange the items in this order:
                                                                                        COOKIE SHEET
SHRIMP, IN COLANDER         FLOUR          EGG MIXTURE          COCONUT MIXTURE

Hint: For the right handed cook, work left to right. With left hand holding the shrimp, and right hand holding a fork to assist, coat the shrimp with flour, dip in the egg, then in the coconut. Use the fork to turn the shrimp back and to press it into the coconut to get a good, even coating. Place the coated shrimp on the tray with a bit of space between each.

When all the shrimp are coated, cover the tray and refrigerate for 3 or 4 hours. This helps the coating to adhere better during the frying process.

Heat the oil in large pan or fryer to 350F. Cook in small batches for 2-3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels - if your oil is the proper temperature there shouldn't be much oil on the towels.


Serve hot with a Thai sweet chili dipping sauce, sweet and sour sauce or other favorite. Our favorite is Safeway's Waterfront Bistro Sweet Chili Sauce, and we'd also recommend Roberts Rothchild's Pineapple and Habanero dip.

If you don't like things spicy, any sweet and sour sauce would work well, as would an Asian plum sauce, or garlic-soy sauce.