Moravian Cookies

Moravian Cookies

The holidays aren’t over yet! Who else keeps their Christmas tree up until after New Years? Even after the tree is down, I love keeping some holiday elements around to get through the cold days of winter with some spices (especially cinnamon!), warm drinks, and lots of sweets. These cookies are the perfect treat to keep around all winter long.

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My ancestors came to America from Moravia - a region in the present-day Czech Republic. They settled in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area, bringing their traditions across the pond. You can experience a recreation of their pioneer days today in Old Salem, including tasting this cookie. The Moravian Cookie Factory makes these and a few flavor variations all year round. The folklife insitute published a recipe a while back that I used as my starting place. They’re not traditionally gluten-free, and the recipe produces cookies in bulk! My recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and yields a more reasonable quantity of cookies that won’t keep you in the kitchen all day.

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Moravian cookies are traditional molasses spice cookies cut into fun shapes. They get rolled out really thin for a crispy crunch. The hard part is rolling the dough paper thin. I know I will never get them as thin as the cookies from the cookie factory, but maybe with a few more years of practice I’ll get right. I found that the thinness and ample cooking time were required to get a crispy snap from every cookie. Their traditional shape is round with a wavy edge. I achieved this shape with a biscuit-cutter. And for the holidays, I also cut out some stars and Christmas trees.

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The stars of the show are the spices: cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Be sure your dried spices are less than a year old for maximum flavor. I remember eating thesecookies as a kid and relishing the ginger flavor that leaves a spicy aftertaste after I ate a few too many. And I always ate a few too many. They resemble ginger bread, which usually gets a dose of icing and candy decorations. But these cookies don't need any frills. They are one of my favorite cookies, and I hope they'll be yours too!
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Enjoy!


MORAVIAN COOKIES

Yields approx. 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz molasses
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ Tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ Tbsp ginger
  • ½ Tbsp cloves
  • ½ Tbsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups gluten-free flour (plus more for rolling):
    • 63g white rice flour
    • 126g brown rice flour
    • 126g tapioca flour
    • 63g cornstarch
    • 12g potato flour

Directions:

  1. Add molasses, brown sugar, vegetable shortening, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ginger to a large saucepan and place on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is uniform and shortening has melted completely.
  2. Add baking powder and mix until combined. Mixture will triple in size.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl to cool.
  4. Measure out flours and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  5. Once molasses mixture reaches room temperature, mix it with the flour mixture until combined.
  6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  7. The following day, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut off a fist-sized piece. Return the remainder of the dough to the fridge to keep chilled.
  9. On a piece of wax paper dusted with flour, roll the piece of dough into a ¼ inch thickness, dusting the top of the dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.
  10. Cut out shapes from the dough with cookie cutters.
  11. Transfer each piece of dough to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
  13. Repeat steps 8-12 until you have cut and baked all of the dough into cookies.

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