If you have a sweet tooth, today’s Word Search is right up your alley. But be warned, you might need a cookie right after you play, to satisfy your craving for dessert!
One of the words in today’s puzzle makes for a great add-on to sweet bakes, and is sometimes used as an alternative to honey: molasses. The thick, smoky-sweet, dark syrup may confuse at first glance – it resembles the viscosity of cough syrups – but once you taste it, you know there’s something special about it.
Molasses were first developed in India, as early as 500BC, in the process of pressing sugar cane and boiling its juice until it crystalised. In the Middle Ages, molasses made their way to Europe when Arabs brought it with them to Spain. And when explorer Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane to the West Indies, molasses travelled to the Americas. Since it was relatively inexpensive up until the 1880s, it was a popular sweetener in the US.
A tablespoon of molasses (58 calories) has slightly fewer calories than a tablespoon of honey (64 calories), but it packs a bigger punch in taste. If you don’t believe this fact, try this recipe for Bengali mishti doi or molasses yoghurt.
And if you like pomegranate molasses, which is formed when pomegranate juice is reduced to a jewel red, sweet-tangy flavour, there are a variety of dishes waiting for you to give them a try. Its versatile taste works well in salads, like this tangy parsley salad, or in savoury dishes, like this Syrian appetiser made with walnuts and pistachios: Aleppo muhammara.
Another word in our puzzle is the chewy macaroon, which is often confused with the crispy, meringue-like macaron.
Macaroons trace their history to Italy, where the flourless and unleavened cookies were made with almond paste or amaretti. Some innovative bakers began swapping in shredded coconut instead of the almond paste, making what we still enjoy today – coconut macaroons. Others tried making it with almonds that were finely ground into flour – those became the smooth, delicious macarons. These macarons were first developed in the French court by chefs whom the king’s Italian wife, Catherine de Medici, brought over from Italy. So, the French can thank the Italians for the macarons that everyone now associates with quintessential French confections. Either way, it’s a win-win for dessert-lovers everywhere!
Do you prefer macarons or macaroons? Play today’s Word Search and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.