Cookies with Mr. T: Moravian Christmas Cookies
Welcome back, folks! Today, we’re in December, 1946 and making Moravian Christmas Cookies. Did you know that December of 1946 marked the release of It’s a Wonderful Life in theaters? I didn’t either, until I went to Wikipedia and typed in 1946. As this is a Christmas cookie, you can eat it while you watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Just ignore the fact that it’s 80 degrees outside.
OK, here’s what you’re going to need (this is what the recipe calls for, but I halved everything because I didn’t want to make six dozen cookies):
1 cup butter 2 cups sugar 4 eggs, well-beaten 3 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons sherry
1. Cream 1 cup butter. The editors tell us to use softened butter. Now, we don’t have a microwave, and my butter was frozen, so I had to improvise. Yes, as the picture indicates, I put the butter on a plate and set it on top of the toaster oven because it gets really hot on top. Is this the best way to soften butter? Probably not. It took some time. Jess even tweeted that I was being too quiet in the kitchen. But eventually it worked. When it seemed softened, I put it in the stand mixture and turned it to the “cream” setting.
2. Add the sugar gradually and cream the mixture until it is light. I poured the sugar in and hit the cream setting again. Creaming basically means blending, but particularly when it involves something like butter. I think there is probably more too it, but I didn’t feel like reading anymore about it.
3. Add the well-beaten eggs and beat the whole thoroughly. Pretty self-explanatory, I think.
4. Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. As usual, I just put these in a bowl and whisked them until they seemed to be blended well.
5. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sherry. I added half the flour mixture, half the sherry, the other half of the flour mixture, and the other half of the sherry, mixing it each time after I added something. After this, add flour to stiffen the dough. The recipe said one cup (since I was halving things, I used a half cup). I probably should’ve used more, because I ended up with more of a batter than a dough. Let the dough chill for several hours.
6. Pour yourself some sherry and drink it. This step may not have been in the original recipe. I never really drank sherry. If you put ice in it or chill it, it’s not bad, but I’m probably never going to become a huge sherry drinker.
7. When you have chilled the dough, you should roll it extremely thin. However, as I said I had more of a batter, so I could not roll it out. Instead I just put some on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (which got brown and burned on the edges, so maybe be careful about putting parchment paper in the oven). Put it in an oven preheated to 450 degrees for about seven minutes.
Ultimately, I think you’re supposed to end up with something flat and crispy. However, my cookies ended up taller and more cake-like. Some people online suggest not halving ingredients, but making sure the ratios all stay the same, maybe I will try that next time. The cookies, however, were good, if not extremely flavorful. The editors suggested making a frosting for them, and I could see how they might need something like that. I hadn’t gotten the necessary ingredients for the frosting, so I did not frost them.