Used to be every year I’d wait impatiently for Williams Sonoma to get the holiday Moravian Ginger Spice Cookies in stock. I’d buy one tin (at a time) and we’d eat our way though them and have to go back for more. They were incredibly good though they were also ridiculously expensive. It never occurred to me to learn how to bake them in those long ago gluten eating days.
Though once we were gluten-free, I’d still await the arrival of the tins and this time, I’d just visit them in their native habitat and pat them a little to let them know I cared. It was pathetic and sad. And slightly creepy.
But this year I told myself this was it. I was going to learn to make them. How hard could it be? After all I tackled homemade GF croissants and won. These couldn’t be harder.
Famous last words.
When I began the process of testing the recipe, I found them to be annoying little cookies. The dough was finicky and sticky and totally uncooperative. It stuck to everything. It puffed. It cracked. And rolling out the dough gave me a whopping migraine, but then again you aren’t supposed to hit your head with the miscreant rolling-pin.
To be just like my favorite William Sonoma cookie made by the Salem Baking Company, you had to roll the dough so thin you could read through it. Anyone who has tried to roll anything gluten-free knows what I mean when I say it would be easier to do brain surgery – on myself – than to roll out gluten-free dough that thin.
But. I am here to tell you it can be done. And I finally found the secret. Chilled dough. And little tiny balls of dough smashed with a flat-bottomed glass are the remedy to that pesky rolling-pin.
Not only is it easy, it works quite well and you’ll still be in a good mood when you’re done. In no time everyone will be crunching away on ultra thin Moravian ginger spice cookies along with a large glass of spiked something.
Move over Williams Sonoma pricey holiday cookies. We’ve only just begun.
|Moravian Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, Gluten Free||
- 260 grams AP GF Flour (130 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 65 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (scant 2 cups)
- 60 grams superfine granulated sugar (baker’s) (1/3 cup)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons ginger powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ heaping teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- one or two turns of the pepper mill
- 45 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (3 tablespoons)
- 175 grams unsulphured molasses (about ½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Royal Icing or your favorite store cookie icing & colored sugar/GF sprinkles
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, cloves, mace,nutmeg, salt and black pepper until fully combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the molasses and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture is combined and it starts to come together in a ragged ball. It won’t actually come together fully but it will look like very wet clumps of sand.
- Remove from the food processor onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Remove blade carefully. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand until it is smooth – a few turns should do it. Divide into two even pieces. Roll into logs and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least three hours and overnight is better – the flavors develop more.
- When ready to bake preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
- Remove one dough log at a time from the refrigerator. Break off a very scant teaspoon sized piece and roll into a small smooth ball.
- Place on parchment lined sheets about an inch or two apart leaving room to flatten them. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough balls on the parchment. Using a very flat-bottomed glass or other utensil, press each dough ball flat. Once it is flat, press it again to flatten it even more. These are supposed to be as thin as possible. Make sure to keep the nice smooth round shape you began with. Don’t try to remove the plastic wrap just yet. Refrigerate the sheet pan for about 10 minutes. After that the plastic wrap should peel right off without disturbing the dough. Remove plastic wrap and bake.
- Bake about 5 minutes and rotate pans. Bake about 3-4 minutes more. Remove when lightly brown. Cool on a baking rack thoroughly before decorating. Decorate with royal icing and sugar or sprinkles or leave plain.