Hye Thyme Cafe: Moravian Spice Cookie Wafers ... with a kick

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Moravian Spice Cookie Wafers ... with a kick

I saw this recipe last year on the Food Network's 12 Day of Cookies and saved it for future reference, but I hadn't gotten around to trying them until now. Because of the mass quantities of excess food we end up with every holiday, no matter how many people do or don't join us, it's always a tough call adding new recipes to everyone's existing favorites. I decided that this year, we would make half batches of everything. That way, we can all indulge in our favorite, whatever it is, but we can also try a few new things.  

The recipe claims to make five dozen 2-3" cookies, but I barely scraped together two dozen 2" cookies, so I don't see how that's possible. Even doubled (well, a full recipe), that would only be four dozen. If you use a 3" cutter, that would make it even less, so just bear that in mind.

I'm listing the ingredients as originally written, but I personally increased the amount of cinnamon, clove, and ginger. I wasn't sure what they meant by fine salt - table opposed to Kosher? So I ended up using sea salt. I didn't have white pepper, so I decided to try a lesser amount of cayenne, and I sprinkled the tops of most of the cookies with sanding sugar before baking. Also, because I'm not that patient with stuff like this, I did not freeze them for a half hour, cut them and freeze them for another 15". I froze them for about 15" then cut and baked them - no second freeze.

Rather than trying to re-roll, freeze, and cut the scraps, because I cut my cookies as close together as possible in the first place to minimize the scraps, I just threw those on the tray and baked them off to serve as the test pieces. I was pleasantly surprised when my first thought was that they tasted/felt just like the Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux Cookies, but then I got that little kick of heat at the back.  I'll definitely be making these again.

1 2/3 c flour
1/2 t fine salt 
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 - 3/4 t finely ground white pepper
1/2 t dry mustard powder
6 T unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 lg egg yolk

Preheat oven to 325.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and mustard.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the molasses and yolk. I was worried about getting half a yolk, but it was easy! I separated it from the white and poured it into a  ramekin, sliced it in half with a very thin sandwich knife and scooped up half before it could run together. 

Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined and crumbly. If you're doing it by hand, just give it a squeeze to kind of bring it all together.  

Because I was doing a half batch, I just split it in half, but if you're doing a full batch, the original recipe suggests cutting the dough into thirds and rolling each out separately between sheets of waxed paper. You want to roll it out as thinly as possible - about 1/16". It said to peel back the top sheet of waxed paper and replace it loosely, but I figured if you're supposed to separate it, why not flip it over and loosen the other sheet too.

Slide the whole thing onto a baking sheet and freeze for about 30", then cut out your cookies with a 2-3" fluted round cutter and return to the freezer for another 15" to set.

Oops ... I didn't have the instructions upstairs with me, so when it came time to baking them, I assumed they should be done directly on the trays so they would be crisp. I have made the mistake of baking other things on parchment that really should have baked directly on the tray. I just looked at the recipe and noticed that they do say to bake them on parchment. Hmmm. Either way, give them about 10" until crisp and just starting to get a tan.

Because the cookies are so thin, and our spatulas ... not so much ... I used a fish turner to release them from the pan when they came out and let them cool right where they were.

I was planning to leave a plate of these out for Santa on Christmas Eve, but I'll probably have to re-think that. First of all, I'm not sure if he likes spicy food, and there is a little bit of a kick to these. Second, I think he's pissed at me right now, so if he doesn't like heat, that would really push him over the edge. I'm not looking to wake up to a stocking full of coal on Christmas morning!!

Why is Santa pissed at me? Well ... I was driving home from work last night, and as I was coming down the big hill toward our street, I glanced to my left to check out the Christmas lights on a huge house over there and well, there was this THUMP. Hey, there's a reason why Santa named him Dasher!! The little bugger dashed right out and hit me! I stopped and looked in my rearview to see him shaking it off before heading back into the woods in the same direction he came from, so I figured he couldn't be that bad. I waited a few seconds, then slowly started back down the hill when another of Santa's buddies came running at me from the other side of the street. I was on full alert then and was practically crawling anyhow, so we avoided any unpleasantness, but I'm thinking he probably took down my plate number for Dasher and ratted me out to Santa. We'll see ...

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