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Tuesday, April 9, 2019


By Kristy McCaffrey

Sorghum is a type of grass consisting of 25 different species. Sorghum bicolor, thought to have originated in Africa, is believed to have arrived in the United States in the mid-19th century, and is an important worldwide crop.  The plants tolerance of arid climates has made it ideal in places like Arizona—sorghum requires less water than corn and generally produces better yields under such conditions.

Sorghum bicolor

Sorghum bicolor is used as a staple food worldwide, as well as feed for livestock (primarily in Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska, where insufficient rainfall and high temperatures make corn production unprofitable).

As a grain it’s gluten-free, making it ideal for bread, beer and other foods for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Another promising use is as a source of ethanol, an environmentally sustainable biofuel.

Sweet sorghum is any of the varieties of the sorghum grass that contain a high sugar content. Since the 1850s, it has been cultivated as a sweetener, mainly in the form of sorghum syrup, and is served with hot biscuits, cornmeal mush, grits, and on pancakes. As a cooking ingredient, it’s similar to molasses.

Sorghum can be substituted for wheat flour in a variety of baked goods due to its neutral, sometimes sweet, flavor.

Here’s a recipe for Molasses Sorghum Cookies.

¾ cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup unsulfured molasses
1 ¾ cup whole sorghum flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
Raw, coarse, or sanding sugar (or white sugar) for coating

       Preheat oven to 375 degF. Oil or butter a large baking sheet.

     In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.

   In another large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the molasses, mix until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat at medium speed until the mixture doesn’t stick to the bowl, adding more flour if necessary.

   To form each cookie, make a golf-ball-sized ball, and then flatten it between your hands. Dredge each flattened ball in the raw sugar.

      Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet about 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 6-7 minutes. (It’s important not to overcook the cookies.) Cool on a rack. Enjoy!

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  1. I didn't realize sorghum was grown worldwide or even all over the U.S. I thought it was just a Southern thing. I certainly didn't know it was gluten free either. Your picture of it is actually the first I have ever seen of the plant...amazingly. Keep in mind I am a city dweller so my chances of seeing any kind of farming is limited.

    I loved that you included that recipe. Shoot, that almost seems like a health food dessert. LOL

    All the best to you, Kristy. Great blog.

    1. Thanks, Sarah. I actually have never had sorghum, but after researching it I think I may have to give it a try. The molasses cookies look really yummy.

  2. I never knew what sorghum was! Had no idea it grows like that. I always think of it as a syrup and thought it was a sap of some kind. You know I'm going to try this recipe. I have a weakness for ginger. I have to say I often find gluten free flours to taste better in baked good--more delicate flavor.

    1. I find gluten-free foods to definitely be easier on my stomach. It was interesting exploring what sorghum actually was.

  3. Interesting, Kristy. I remember my grandfather making sorghum molasses when I was a little girl. You taught me something because I thought molasses were all it was used for. Thanks for posting.

    1. And I think that sorghum molasses is a bit of a misnomer, too. Real molasses has more nutrients in it, but I believe that sorghum was popular because it's sweeter.

  4. Oh does this bring back memories of my great grandmother's cooking. They are good memories.

    I was aware of the flour, having a gluten sensitivity, but had forgotten they fed it to cows. I love this kind of information. Doris

    1. I'm glad it triggered happy memories of your great grandmother. Those are priceless. :-)

  5. My husband's family were farmers and sorghum was one of the crops they rotated. My dad dabbled with farming a few acres of corn and sorghum on our ranch. We harvested and fed both to our cattle throughout the winter. I love molasses cookies, but it seems I only make them during the Christmas holiday season.

  6. My husband is coeliac (the British spelling) and we use sorghum, as well as other grains. Thanks for the recipe. I'll add it to my repertoire.