There’s No Made Like Home for the Holidays II (A three part Christmas Special)

Part 2- The Leading Roll

We made Moravian spice cookies every Christmas when I was young. As I grew older, my mom stopped making them. Not that she stopped baking for Christmas, but what’s the difference between 134 types of cookies and 133, especially when there is also cherry pound cake and cranberry coffee ring to be had. Okay, so there weren’t quite so many different cookies, but you get the idea.

When I was in sixth or seventh grade I asked why we had stopped making them. I got several reasons from Mom, amongst them the huge time commitment involved in the recipe. Because these are my very favorite cookie I decided I would make them, by myself if I had to! I dug out the McCall’s Cookie Cookbook (a small grocery store check-out line find from the 1970’s that I’m pretty sure is out of print) and flipped pages until I found the recipe in the section titled “Cookier Cookies for Goodier Giving”. I hope you are enjoying this three part gift- a little taste of my childhood!

At 5:32pm on December 21, 2014 I arrived home from an eight hour day at what I call my “Pretend Job”, a.k.a. mixing paint and copying keys at a locally owned and operated hardware store. I started the second movement of this sweet suite at about 6:05pm. I wrapped it all up around 8:38pm; that included cleaning up! See that? You have time for this!

 

Preheat that oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

I. Preheat that oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

Get out some flour, your cookie sheets, a rolling pin, and some cookie cutters. I used a Christmas tree, a star, a bell, and a Gingerbread Man, I mean Person of Dough.

II. Get out some flour, your cookie sheets, a rolling pin, and some cookie cutters. I used a Christmas tree, a star, a bell, and a Gingerbread Man, I mean Person of Dough.

Dust your counter top, rolling pin and a small lump of the dough with flour. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.

III. Dust your counter top, rolling pin and a small lump of the dough with flour. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.

Roll the dough thin. I'm not good with estimating thicknesses this fine. I usually go about the thicknesses of two sheets of card stock. Yeah- that thin!

IV. Roll the dough thin. I’m not good with estimating thicknesses this fine. I usually go about the thicknesses of two sheets of card stock. Yeah- that thin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut out your shapes. You can lift them from the surface with a thin spatula. Move them to one of your cookie sheets. Repeat until the cookie sheet is full. You can leave about a quarter inch between cookies; these don't spread very much.

V. Cut out your shapes. You can lift them from the surface with a thin spatula. Move them to one of your cookie sheets. Repeat until the cookie sheet is full. You can leave about a quarter inch between cookies; these don’t spread very much.

OOPS! This tree is not pretty. No need to worry...

VI. OOPS! This tree is not pretty. No need to worry…

 

 

Smush it up and re-roll. Can't really do that with those store bought slice-and-bake-to-get-the-tree-picture-in-the-cookie things, now can you?

VII. Smush it up and re-roll. Can’t really do that with those store bought slice-and-bake-to-get-the-tree-picture-in-the-cookie things, now can you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the sheet is full, bake for 6-10 minutes. Check after six. They can go from "not yet" to "charcoal" very very quickly.

VIII. When the sheet is full, bake for 6-10 minutes. Check after six. They can go from “not yet” to “charcoal” very very quickly.

When the edges are just getting toasty brown, pull the sheet from the oven.  Use a thin spatula to move your cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack. (I couldn't take pictures of this step because it takes both hands.) Be quick here! The cookies get hard and brittle quickly after your take them out of the oven. And that is just what makes Moravian Spice cookies so amazing. Look how thin! Think how crisp!

IX. When the edges are just getting toasty brown, pull the sheet from the oven. Use a thin spatula to move your cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack. (I couldn’t take pictures of this step because it takes both hands.) Be quick here! The cookies get hard and brittle quickly after your take them out of the oven. And that is just what makes Moravian Spice cookies so amazing. Look how thin! Think how crisp!

Another advantage to truly homemade cookies is the possibility of last minute changes. On a whim I decided o make festive Christmas chickens. Can't do that with frozen dough lumps. Not even a little.

X. Another advantage to truly homemade cookies is the possibility of last minute changes. On a whim I decided o make festive Christmas chickens. Can’t do that with frozen dough lumps. Not even a little.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the process is a repetition of this sequence. The number of cookies you’ll have a the end depends on the size of the cookie cutters you use. Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container in a cool place.

This ends Part 2. We will have an intermission Monday (I am working at both my Pretend Job and my Big Girl Job.) Please join us again on Tuesday for the finale!

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