Thursday, June 17, 2010

Soft Molasses Cakes and John Quincy Adams


Today I made Molasses Cakes. I chose this recipe for today primarily because Blake loves molasses cookies and today is our anniversary. I don't care for them as much... I like my cookies to be very sweet, and these just aren't that kind of cookie.

For those who might want to make these as well, here's how I made them.

First I sifted together 4c flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt and ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon and baking soda and 1/2 tsp cloves. Then I melted a cup of butter and added the 1 1/2c molasses and 1/4 cup sugar to that while it was still warm/hot. I was surprised by how much stirring it took until it was really mixed together.

Then it was supposed to cool, so I did other things at this point like eat breakfast, drink coffee, read my book etc. Then I checked it again, and it was still a bit warm, so I put it in the fridge while I continued getting ready. Once I was ready, I went down and checked it again, and it was still somewhat warm. I hate obscure directions like "cool". How cool? Does slightly warm mean that it is not cool enough?

Anyways, I had a meeting at school at 9, so I didn't have a choice at this point. So then I added just a bit of the flour mixture (I used about 3/4 of a cup) to the butter/molasses mixture. Then I beat in 1 egg.

The next direction confused me a bit because it said to add the remaining flour and blend until smooth. Again with the obscure words: smooth. I tried first mixing it with the whisk like attachment, then I switched to another attachment, and later went back to the whisk one. In addition, I kept switching the speeds. Blending it together was easy... but it wasn't getting what I would call smooth... it kept looking grainy! I finally decided that smooth might just mean no lumps (and I know you cooking types out there are laughing at me at this point for it taking me that long to decide that... but I am admittedly a novice... and smooth has multiple meanings...) so I decided that it was done. If I didn't have a meeting, who knows how long I might have kept trying to mix the poor batter before getting to that conclusion lol.

Then I put it in the fridge. The recipe says that it is supposed to cool for about 2 hours. I chilled it for more like 3- 4 hours because I was at school for that time, then I had to run to Costco on the way home. When I got home I preheated the oven to 350, and made the dough (which was pretty hard and thick by this point) into balls. I started making them with an ice cream scoop, but after about 3 of them that size, I decided that those balls were definitely not "small balls," and I worried that it might not cook properly if I left them big... so I split those in half, and rolled them into balls, and then found a teaspoon and used that for the rest of the balls.

I spaced them about 2 inches apart, as per the recipe, which was really important, because even with that spacing I had a few starting to touch each other. They baked for 15 minutes, and then cooled on a rack.

They look pretty, and I thought that they tasted like they are supposed to, but I will wait for my husband's official judgment before I rule how they tasted... since I don't love these kind of cookies even at their best.


I wanted to also take a minute to talk about John Quincy Adams. These cookies were on the page for him and his wife. He was president from 1825 to 1829.

I read up about him (and am writing about him) because I didn't just choose this cook book to make cookies, any cookbook could tell me that. Only this one in my library connects my sweet treats with some history, so I should educate myself.

I feel bad for him. Apparently, he is remembered for being one of the first presidents who the house of representatives ultimately decided that he should win because there wasn't a majority in the electoral college. He didn't win the popular vote, Andrew Jackson did. And he unfortunately made himself look worse when the guy who was the one vote that won him the presidency got a nice spot as his secretary of state.

He only was president those 4 years because Andrew Jackson then campaigned so hard against him, and he didn't have a lot of favor in Congress because of his journey to get the spot, so although he had great plans to unite the country with more roads and canals so that the states could trade easier, they didn't get passed.

He was ultimately a lot more successful as a member of Congress in the House of Representatives, where he served for 9 terms before he had a stroke while at work, and died from it two days later.

Adams was very much against slavery and campaigned hard against it in Congress.

A few of his quotes that I like:
All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.
John Quincy Adams

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
John Quincy Adams

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

Duty is ours; results are God's

John Quincy Adams

Idleness is sweet, and its consequences are cruel

John Quincy Adams

It is essential...that you should form and adopt certain rules or principles, for the government of your own conduct and temper. Unless you have such rules and principles, there will be numberless occasions on which you will have no guide for your government but your passions...It is in the Bible, you must learn them, and from the Bible how to practice them.
John Quincy Adams

So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year.
John Quincy Adams

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