Christmas is my favorite holiday. I have collected traditions, decorations, and recipes to make it fun and festive. I want to share the joy.
For me, The Moravian Spice Cookies are the quintessential Christmas cookie. They are a gingerbread flavor with great keeping qualities, perfect for sending. While they store well, and are the best cookie for dipping in your tea, they come into their own when decorated with the Royal icing that makes the simple and elegant frosted look that you can see in so many of the holiday cookie displays in magazines. Lacy outlines and pretty dots stand out against the deep rich brown of these molasses based goodies.
In our family they have become a tradition and everyone prefers them to other types of cut out cookies. The dough must be thoroughly chilled to get that very thin, first roll that produces the tastiest cookies. I like to use darker molasses for its rich flavor, but you can use lighter types if you wish. Once they are in the oven, watch that these cookies don't burn. Their thin size means they bake quickly, so time them and watch them,especially when first baking them in your own oven.
If you try these, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how they improve with time and provide a very merry addition to your holiday dessert table.
I like to collect cookie recipe magazines that are published during the holidays, and while reading in a Cooks magazine about baking the very best Gingerbread cookie, I noticed they came up with a very similar recipe to my Moravian Spice cookies. Their view of what makes a great Gingerbread cutout exactly coincides with mine: flavorful, crisp, satisfying spice, stores well, sends well, and is beautiful to boot.
Tips for Great Baking
- Use unsulphured molasses, several brands are good: Grandma's and Brer Rabbit are two I've used.
- Wrap dough in waxed paper or Saran Wrap, it will keep refrigerated for a number of days.
- Cover the Royal icing in a tightly covered container to keep it moist: it dries out very quickly.
- You can flavor the icing if you wish, and sprinkle with "snowy" decorative sugar.
Prep Time: Overnight chilling
Total Time: At least one day
Serves: Depends on cookie cutter size
- 4 cups sifted flour
- 1 c. light molasses
- 1/2 c. softened butter
- 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp.cloves
- 1/3 cup egg whites (about 2)
- 3 3/4 -4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- Make dough: Sift flour with baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
- In large bowl,beat brown sugar,butter,and molasses til well-combined.
- With wooden spoon,stir in flour mixture , then mix with hands til combined. Form dough into ball. Wrap in saran wrap or wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
- Next day: Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
- Divide dough into 4 parts. Refrigerate until ready to roll out.
- On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick.
- Use cookie cutters in your favorite shapes to cut out cookies.
- Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets and bake 6-8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Make frosting: In med. bowl,beat egg whites with 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar to make a smooth, stiff frosting. Add more sugar if necessary. Cover with damp cloth until ready to use.
- Decorate cookies : Pipe frosting through #4 writing tip outlining cookies and making polka-dots.
For a large amount of cookies like this recipe makes, a stacked tier of cooling racks is ideal. Non stick surfaces make removing the cookies a breeze.
For Thin Cookies Baked To Perfection
Who Were The Moravians?
This cookie comes from the kitchens of a group of Christians who came to Colonial America from areas of Bohemia and Moravia and settled into communities. Moravians, like many people in that area of Europe came to love gingerbread cookies that combined spices in a baked treat made from rolled dough.
There are many types of gingerbread from these areas, including lebkuchen and pepperkaker.
What sets these cookies apart is how thin and crisp they are.
- Video: Cookie of the Week: How to Make a Moravian Cookie | Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart bakes the cookie of the week which is the moravian cookie. She also discusses its interesting origins.
© 2013 Ilona E