Kristine Duncan, MS, RD, CDE is a vegetarian dietitian, freelance writer, community college instructor, dog lady, cat lady, and nutrition blogger at VegGirlRD. She lives in Washington State but dreams of moving to Italy someday and getting paid to eat pasta and cheese for a living. Until then you can find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Warm, rich, sweet brown liquid. That’s how most of us like to start the day, whether we brew up a cup at home or cruise through our favorite drive thru. I know the main motivator to this ritual is caffeine, but I’d like you to consider for a moment another way to quench your morning thirst that looks and feels a lot like a latte but boasts a bit more nutrition. I give you: the Hot Molasses.
A favorite coffee cart in Bellingham, Washington, which has since closed up shop, first turned me on to the idea of melting molasses into hot milk. The result is divine. I think it tastes like hot buttered rum, kind of roasty and caramelly (which makes a little bit of sense because molasses is actually used to make rum) and it’s definitely more healthful than traditional syrups or sauces used to flavor coffee and espresso drinks.
Molasses is a byproduct of sugar production, made from crushing sugar cane and cooking down the sweet liquid that’s extracted. It usually goes through three rounds of cooking, with crystalized sugar removed at each step, leaving the dark brown syrup referred to as blackstrap. The consistency is almost identical to that famous chocolate syrup in the brown squeeze bottle, but nutrition sets it apart: it’s surprisingly high in calcium, iron and potassium, especially for a sweetener. That’s actually one of the problems with our favorite sweet things like table sugar or honey…teaspoon for teaspoon, they don’t offer up many nutrients besides carbohydrate. When you’re shopping, be sure to get blackstrap as other types of molasses don’t have the same vitamin and mineral content as this lovely liquid.
When I go on and on about the nutritional powerhouse that is blackstrap molasses, folks usually ask me how the heck to use it. When we think of molasses in the kitchen, the occasional ginger snap cookie or pot of baked beans come to mind, but I’ve got a quick recipe that will help you make this a daily pantry staple.
My recipe for Hot Molasses makes 2 cups, which is a breakfast in itself. But, you can easily make the whole recipe, enjoy half and put the rest in the fridge for a quick reheat on day 2. I find it equally delicious over ice.
- 16 fluid ounces plain soymilk (organic if possible)
- 2-3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (organic if possible)
- Heat the soymilk in a saucepan until just below boiling. Pour warm milk into a large mug, add molasses and stir very well. (If you whisk it in, you can actually generate a little foam on top.) Two tablespoons will give a milder flavor, while three tablespoons will have more richness. Sip slowly and savor, knowing you’re knocking it out of the nutrition ballpark before you even leave the house.
- I only taste-tested this recipe with soymilk, but I’m sure you could substitute cow’s milk or your favorite non-dairy milk with good results.