Oof. Starting a new job is hard business. Learning how to do things right, thinking you’re doing things right, finding out you’re not doing things right or not being aware of things people thought you were aware of. I’ve started two new jobs in the last couple months, after rapidly being promoted by a stroke of luck and some stars aligning on timing. And while all of this is exciting, it’s completely overwhelming at the same time. Knowing what you’re capable of and showing what you’re capable of are two vastly different things. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’ve got such a wonderful husband who cooks me amazing foods and gives great footrubs! While I’m excited about the opportunities in my life right now, there’s a part of me that wants to run away to a cabin in Vermont to live in the snow, work in my comfortable little arts world, and do yoga – none of this real life, real job business! But if life isn’t an adventure full of unexpected turns and opportunities, you’re probably not doing it right. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I’m still just trying to get my bearings as I assume a lot more responsibility than I’ve ever had. I’m very grateful for the opportunities in front of me that can only help me grow and learn much more than I ever imagined. But that doesn’t mean hiding in a corner and occasionally wishing a nice, mid-size orchestra would come find me and have me work for them, doesn’t sound appealing. Or a regular workout schedule. That would be nice too. But who has time for that?!?!?!
Obviously the only way to counteract another schedule shift and increase in job responsibility, is to bake. And to bake recipes by Sally. Because Sally’s the best. I really wish I could be half as creative with recipes as she is and that I could also be biffles with her. But since neither of those options are very probable, it’s easier to just bake her amazing recipes! Here’s one I specifically picked out for Will, since he’s a huge fan of molasses cookies and an even bigger fan of caramel. And while this recipe looks long and scary, I promise the end result is completely worth it. It’s yet another Sally melt-in-your-mouth chewy cookie goodness kind of recipe. I think I typically make a pretty good molasses cookie, the caramel adds a whole different element to the cookie. Give these a shot!
Baking Notes: As always, I didn’t make my cookies as big as Sally suggests, so I ended up with about 2 1/2 dozen cookies as opposed to the 20 she predicts. I couldn’t find Werther’s Original Baking Caramels, so I just used Kraft caramel candies, which seemed to work out splendidly. I also didn’t splurge for the heavy cream and stuck with good ol’ whole milk.
Caramel Molasses Cookies (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction; makes 2-3 dozen)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
14 baking caramels, unwrapped
1 tbsp whole milk
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt, then set aside. With a handheld mixer, cream the butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, approx. 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the molasses, egg and vanilla, beating on high until well blended, again scraping down the sides as necessary. Slowly add the dry ingredients keeping the mixer on low speed. Be careful not to overmix! Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour.
You won’t believe me, but you should start making the caramel while the dough chills! Add the caramels and milk to a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until the caramels fully melt (this may take awhile depending on your caramels). Once melted, turn off the stove and let the caramel sit in the pan until it’s ready to use. If your caramel preps quickly and sits for awhile, turn your burner on very low heat just before you need to use it, stirring it to lightly warm it back up.
Once the cookies have chilled for an hour, begin to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets with Crisco or line with parchment paper. Pour the granulated sugar into a bowl. Take 1-2 tbsp of dough (depending on if you want large or small cookies) and roll into a ball. Next, roll the dough in the bowl of sugar before placing on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes – cookies will look soft when they come out of the oven. Gently press down their tops with your fingers once they’re out of the oven, to achieve a crinkle look. Place back in the oven for another minute, before removing again and allowing to cool on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once all your cookies are cooling, place a cookie sheet under your wire rack and begin to drizzle caramel sauce over top. Eat immediately or store in a container to continue enjoying for several days!