The TV show Sesame Street turns 40 years old today. It was the first consciously "educational" children's show and made quite the splash when it first aired. I used to babysit for a family as a full time summer job in high school, and I watched a lot of episodes of the early seasons with my preschool charges. The mom appreciated the educational aspect of the show and asked me to turn it on for them. (And when they napped, I watched the Watergate hearings!)
While I thought the show was creative and clever, it definitely annoyed me that none of the early Sesame Street Muppets were female (Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar, Grover, and on and on, all male. And when they finally introduced some female Muppets they were pretty insipid - Prairie Dawn, really?) But that didn't stop me from having my favorite my favorite Muppets: Grover self-described as "lovable and furry," and Cookie Monster, totally obsessed with eating cookies, as shown in the classic song "C" is for Cookie:
A couple of seasons ago, Sesame Street's "curriculum" theme was healthy eating, and on air Cookie Monster was busy scarfing up fruits and veggies. But I know that in his heart, he would much rather get his hands on these Molasses Spice Cookies that Pamela of Cookies With Boys chose for her Tuesdays With Dorie pick.
- I used a mixture of all purpose and white whole wheat flour.
- We love spiced cookies, so I used heaping measures of the recipe's spices and a generous pinch of the black pepper. I also added some freshly ground cloves and nutmeg.
- The dough was quite sticky, so I rolled it into two logs and popped them into the freezer for 45 minutes or so. Then I just sliced off discs of dough, placed them on the cookie sheet, sprinkled some coarse sparkly sugar over them, and baked them. It was much easier than rolling balls of dough and flattening them.
- My cookies came out much deeper and darker in appearance than the ones in the book. I think this was from the new brand of organic molasses that I used and also the Trader Joe's brown sugar, which is darker than most "light brown sugar" is.
There was nothing sweet and subtle about these cookies - they were bold and brash with a pronounced dusky spiciness. I brought a plateful of cookies to a chili party on Halloween. The tasters were convinced that there was chocolate in the cookies, they were that dark and complex. I'm pretty sure that with milder sweeteners they would be smoother and more restrained. But for a 40th anniversary - or a chili party on Halloween for that matter - one might as well have wild cookies. Cookie Monster would definitely approve!
If you want to bake these cookies for your very own cookie monster, Pamela will have the recipe on her blog on November 17, or you can find it on pages 76 and 77 of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.