Behold, the sweet syrups section of my pantry.
I have been thinking about doing something with these syrups for a while now, and yesterday the perfect opportunity presented itself. One Ms. Jennifer Jo (the artist formerly known as Mama JJ) posted an entry to her blog about shoofly pie, and queried her readers as to whether or not they were fans.
I was without a formal position. I had never tried shoofly pie, or even heard of it, until I saw a recipe for it in one cookbook or another a couple of years back. I was intrigued, because it sounded to me a lot like pecan pie minus the pecans - and I've always thought pecan pie would be better without the nuts in the way. But Mama JJ - Jennifer - posted a recipe for what she calls shoofly cake, and said try it, see if you like it. So I did.
Holy sweet mother of all things that are holy and sweet. Did I like it? I became instantly obsessed with it. As a matter of fact, my first conscious thought upon waking this morning was SHOOFLY. I had two helpings last night and it's all I can do not to eat more right now. Any time I'm in the kitchen I end up standing over the stove, staring at it.
You make it by making a kinda sorta crumble topping, only that part is the crust. Then you pour a mixture of your sweet syrups, egg, boiling water and baking soda (science!) over that, and top it off with a little more of the crumble mixture. Then it begins to look and smell exactly like a 9x13 pan full of Guinness, which I considered a very positive omen at that stage of my little experiment.
In her recipe (click that link up there), Jennifer calls for 1 cup of light Karo and 1 cup of molasses, but says that you can play with that ratio according to your love/hate of molasses. I like molasses-y things, but I was also in possession of two rather old, rather empty bottles of Karo syrup, one light and one dark. To use up the bottles, I ended up with about 1 1/4 cups of Karo (more light than dark) and 3/4 cup of molasses.
The end result was perfect. It was less sweet than I expected, which is actually a good thing. It's the sort of thing where the flavor in every bite is so exquisitely nuanced - thanks to the molasses - that you cannot wait to eat the next bite (or the rest of the pan, for that matter) to get to more of those little sneaky flavors. And the textures. The slightly crunchy little crust layer, the ooey gooey, almost batter-y middle and the more cooked top...heavenly. It reminds me of brownies without the chocolate, if chocolate were something awful you were looking to get rid of in the first place.
So do I like shoofly cake? Um, yeah. I am smitten.