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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Food Facts: Molasses

I thought I'd add this little bit about molasses, since it is used in my Spiced Hermit recipe below.

It's hard to imagine, but molasses was once used as commonly in cooking as sugar is today. Up until about the 1920s, it was the sweetener of choice for all sorts of dishes, from cornmeal pudding to steamed bread. The sweetest variety of molasses comes from the sugarcane juice that's simply been reduced to syrup. As the syrup is boiled further, sugar crystals form and are removed in stages, with the resulting molasses becoming darker and less sweet. The darkest and least-sweet kind of molasses is blackstrap. Though blackstrap can be used in my Spiced Hermit recipe, I recommend, for better flavor, a medium-dark variety with no sugar removed, like Grandma's Original Molasses.

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