Saturday, December 19, 2009
Moravian Spice Cookies
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Our Christmas celebration begins the day after Thanksgiving with the making of at least one dessert or treat to be served during the Christmas holidays. That first dessert is usually a cake that requires aging, but we've also been known to make cookies that fall into a category we call "keepers". A "keeper" in our parlance is a treat that will not stale before the official holiday begins. Moravian Spice Cookies fall into that category. When I was a child we called these glass cookies, not because of their appearance, but because they were so thin they'd shatter if you dropped them on the floor. They were brought to the United States by members of the Moravian church who settled in colonial American communities established by church elders in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The highly spiced cookies are flavored with molasses and are arguably the world's thinnest cookie. When properly rolled, a one inch stack will contain 16 cookies. I still haven't mastered that challenge, though I continue to try. Over the years, I've made some changes to the original recipe to accommodate the tastes of family and friends. Not everyone appreciates the bold taste of full-flavored molasses and dark brown sugar, so, while the dark versions are more authentic, I prefer to use light molasses and brown sugar. The cookies are simple to make and they are wonderful keepers. Be forewarned that the dough must be refrigerated before it can be rolled, so you'll have to plan your time accordingly. Here's the recipe.
Moravian Spice Cookies...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses, light or dark
1) Whisk flour, salt, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
2) Using an electric mixer, cream butter in a small bowl. Add sugar and molasses and mix until combined.
3) Slowly add flour mixture and beat just until smooth.
4) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. Dough will keep several days if refrigerated.
5) Move a rack to upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Set aside.
6) Divide dough into 4 parts. Work with 1/4 of dough at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated. Roll dough on a well-floured surface until it is paper thin - 1/16th of an inch thick. Work quickly because dough will become sticky and unworkable if out too long. Cut with a 2-3/4-inch round cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to prepared cookie sheet.
7) Bake until cookies darken slightly, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Scraps can be reserved and rerolled following refrigeration. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container. Yield: 48 cookies.
This post is being linked to:
Pink Saturday, sponsored by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound