Friday, January 2, 2009

Moravian Spice Crisps

"We will open the book.

Its pages are blank.

We are going out to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day"

-Author Unknown

So lets start the New Year with something sweet.Not just sweet,but spicy as well.To depict the sweeter beginnings we expect and also various experiences-good & bad that may occur on purpose & accidently and spice up or leave a permanent mark on our life.So what better than Moravian Spice Crisps.

Moravian crisps are papery thin crispy cookies supposed to be from Czechoslovakian states or generally and currently from areas under the infuence of Moravian Church.Moravian Church is a Protestant Group that originated in Bohemia,currently Czech Republic.In US,areas like North Carolina,Pennsylvania,Winston Salem etc. have strong influence and are the largest Moravian Communities.Moravian spice cookies/crisps are traditionally baked during Christmas and are related to German lebkuchen.They blend molasses and spices and are rolled out ultra thin and has the reputation as the "World's Thinnest Cookie".

The traditional method involves a lot of rolling and boiling of molasses and butter,though there are new easier methods(similar to normal cookies)which have been adopted to make these cookies.There are also modern versions with chocolate,sugar,black walnuts etc.I found a perfect basic yet new method recipe here and with little substitutions made these ultra thin cookies.Considering my baking skills,I will not say they came out perfect ,but tastewise they were more than perfect and apt for New Year.

Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Ground: 1/2 tsp
Powdered Ginger:1/2 tsp
White Pepper: 1/2 tsp (I used black pepper here)
Powdered Cloves: 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Light Brown Sugar: 1/3 cup (roughly 5 and half tbsp)
Unsalted Butter: 3tbsp softened
Mild Molasses: 1/4 cup (I used Dark Corn syrup)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour,baking powder,baking soda,salt,powdered cinnamon,clove,ginger and white pepper in a bowl.I used black pepper as I did not have white one.Here this works as a substitute as the cookie is brown in colour and it won't show,though it adds to spiciness.Normally in recipes with white/light end products this substitute will not work.Here we are using brown sugar and molasses.So the colour of the cookie is brown and the pepper will not show.Feel free to avoid it entirely as well.But I liked the sweet spicy cookie.

In a big bowl cream the softened butter and brown sugar with a mixer at low speed till blended and creamy for about 3 minutes.Add in molasses/corn syrup and blend at medium speed.Add the flour mix (in batches if needed)and with a spoon blend very well until you get a sticky crumbly dough.Light molasses are must in this cookies.Do not use strong/robust/blackstrap molasses.If you do not have light molasses,use either dark corn syrup(Karo syrup) or generally substitute 1 cup of light molasses with 1/2 cup strong molasses + 1/2 cup honey.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough 4 inches apart on the greased cookie sheet.Shape it into a 2 inch circle.What I did was,I put a teaspoon of dough on the sheet and kept a inch round cookie cutter surroounding it such that the dough was at the centre of the cutter(well, almost centre).Then shaped it within the cookie cutter using fingers though backside of the spoons can also be used.The cookie cutter makes it a bit easier though only thing to make sure is to have an even circle.You can use other methods as well.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they spread and get evenly browned.Take out and let it warm in the same sheet for about 3 minutes.Then using a square spoon/ladle/pancake turner,remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The above estimate gives about 4 dozen cookies,though the recipe says only 3 dozens.I baked 2 dozens but still had almost half the dough.The dough freezes well wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap(the dough is sticky and has molasses/corn syrup.So wax paper+ plastic wrap is a must for better care) for upto 2 weeks.Baked cookies can be frozen upto 1 month or stored in an airtight container for about 10 days.I did not have to store that long.Almost 15 were over just after baking(I baked these 2 nights ago ) and rest the next day.

The cookies are spicy and sweet and crispy & crunchy just as they wanted to be.A warm batch ready to be packed are going to spice up Meeta's MonthlyMingle where she is awaiting traditional spice cookies from all around the world.


There is no Sincerer Love than The Love of Food - Bernardshaw.
Lets fill 2009 with Lots of Love

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