I’m pretty excited about this recipe for Moravian Molasses Cookies.
After a trip to the Czech Republic last spring, we saw and tasted such lovely molasses cookies, I knew I’d need to make some for Christmas.
Located in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, Moravia was officially abolished in 1949, but is still considered a part of it.
That wasn’t my first encounter with these wafer thin and crisp cookies. 15 or so years ago, a friend sent us a Christmas tin filled with these dark and spicy cookies. I believe they came from somewhere in North Carolina. I was intrigued then, but it was only this holiday season after searching through Martha Stewart’s Christmas book, that I came upon the recipe. They are wafter thin and crisp, but they are not a delicate cookie, with lots of dark molasses, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, they’ve got a nice spicy flavor!
You can purchase them through mail-order catalogs starting at $13 for 10 ounces, (not including shipping and handling). But why, when you can make them yourself and add a new Christmas cookie to your holiday baking?
I made only one change to Martha’s recipe, which I don’t think effected the taste at all. Instead of using a combination of margarine and vegetable shortening, I used all butter. Making the dough is a different process than most sugar cookie recipes. The butter and sugars are melted, then the dry ingredients are mixed into the same pot, so no mixer is necessary! This is a plus if you’re making a lot of cookies, you can free up your mixer for another cookie dough.
Because of the butter, I chose to refrigerate the dough over-night. (Martha’s recipe calls for leaving it out all night). You do need to plan ahead and make the dough the night before you’re planning on baking. I also let it soften for 10-15 minutes before rolling. The dough is remarkably sturdy. The recipe calls to roll it out as thin as possible, so thin, that you can “see your hand through it”. As thin as I rolled it, it didn’t tear or fall apart. It almost has the texture of pasta dough.
Because of this, you will get a lot of cookies out of this recipe. I cut Martha’s recipe in half and still made about 5 dozen. Of course it depends on how large your cutter is too. I used a 2 1/2″ cutter. I guess you could decorate them, but I like the simplicity of this Old World cookie. I’m giving you Martha’s full recipe (with my tweak), which will make lots cookies!
In a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and molasses. Heat until brown sugar is dissolved.
Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water and stir into the molasses mixture. The mixture will bubble up. Remove from heat.
Sift the flour and spices together and gradually add to the saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Form the dough into a rectangle, wrap and let set overnight in refrigerator.
The next day, remove from fridge and allow to soften, until easy to roll, about 15 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees F. and line baking sheets with parchment or silpat baking sheets.
On a floured board, roll small pieces of dough as thin as possible. (dough should be thin enough to see one's hand through it.) Cut with cookie cutter and set 1" apart on baking sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling.