I've been doing a lot of baking this year but as I am slowly morphing into a Vancouver douchebag, I've been using only honey or maple syrup to sweeten my grain-free nut-flour creations - you know, like the cavemen did.
So, while I love molasses, I was surprised to see them on the ingredient list in this particular cookbook. So I decided to put on my supersleuthing hat and Googled "blackstrap molasses".
It turns out that molasses is pretty good for you.
Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of refined sugar production - basically, all the shit that's good for you in sugar cane gets stripped out of white sugar and gets leftover in molasses. It's an excellent source of manganese and copper and a good source of iron, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium and vitamin B6.
Other benefits of molasses:
- Molasses come up quite frequently in Laura Ingalls Wilder novels, so you feel like a pioneer when you use molasses, both in recipes and as syrup.
- You can make both booze and ammo with it.
- Molasses is the main ingredient in that Hallowe'en taffy that comes wrapped in yellow, orange and black wax paper. You know...that Hallowe'en candy that everyone hated...EXCEPT ME. HA ha! Score!
It also turns out that molasses CAN KILL YOU.
Apparently, in 1919, TWENTY ONE PEOPLE DIED when a storage tank ruptured, spilling 2.3 million gallons of molasses and creating a FIFTEEN FOOT TIDAL WAVE OF MOLASSES which travelled at 35 mph, flooding the streets of Boston.
I am not making this up. Here is a photo of the aftermath:
The worst thing about it is that it was a serious tragedy. Lives were lost (human and horses), 150 people were injured, tons of property was damaged, the harbour was brown for months. But it is also, a hundred years later, a little bit hilarious because MOLASSES.
I'd like to see The Impossible remade with this story as the premise.
The muffins turned out great, by the way - moist and rich and molasses-y. Just like Ma Ingalls used to make.