Thursday 25 December 2014

Sugar Beet - what is that?

While out shopping for groceries I found some of my German favourites! 
Sugar beet syrup (it is more like:molasses) and plum spread (like: plum butter).
Today, I baked some special sweet treats. Cookies with sugar beet syrup. The beet syrup will give a very distinct taste, that I have been 
missing for 30 some years! 
I actually prefer it to cane molasses which taste burned to me.
Sugar beet molasses cookies
How do they produce sugar beet syrup?

Every fall huge amounts of sugar beets will be transported to the factories around in Nordhrhein Westphalia. To extract the sugar the beets will be shredded and cooked. The cooking process can be smelled all over the country. It is a very distinct odour that hangs in the air in October and all November. 

As kids we would run along the wagons, where they lined up in the streets towards the factory, and wait for beets to roll of when the tucks took a turn. Then we would share off a piece of the beet and eat it raw. It was sweet. Memories.
The leftover pulp will be dried and fed as energy food to dairy cows.
Most of the sugar will be crystallized and bleached into confectioners sugar, similar to cane sugar. Some of the sugary water will be cooked in until it is caramelized, dark brown syrup. Sugar beet syrup. Used as bread spread, onto pancakes, in sauces, for cookies and dark bread.

I still remember when, in the late 70ies, the farmers discussed the novelty of glucose syrup that was about to flood the marked. There were afraid their sugar production would be out-conquered. True, glucose syrup has replace sugar in many produces. But the beets and their products are still very much present on the food marked in Europe. 
After my opinion sweets taste way better made with beet sugar than glucose syrup. 


1 1/2 cup quick oats ( I used old fashioned oats)
1 1/4 cup  almond
1/3    cup  butter
3/4  cup  sugar
1/2    cup sugar beet syrup
1/4    tsp salt

Melt butter in a pot and stir in sugar and syrup until all sugar is dissolved.
Stir in oats, ground almonds and salt. Blend evenly.
Spread mixture out on a cookie sheet, that is covered with baking paper.

Bake with 375°F for about 10 minutes. The mixture will we bubbly when it comes out of the oven. Wait until it has cooled down before cutting it into squares or rhombuses.
The cookies are pretty sweet and will mix good with none-sweetened tea or coffee.