Moravian Christmas Trees – 12 Days of Cookies

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Moravian Christmas Trees Cookies - Andrea Meyers

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Day 12, the final day of our 12 Days of Cookies extravaganza thing, and I have had a ball making all of these. A few late nights, to be sure, but it’s been a wonderful experiment forcing myself to tackle a dozen new things for 12 days in a row. And it was even more fun because I had some great company along the way. Kelly, Courtney, Judy, Sandy, Claire, and Jerry, thanks for joining me and for keeping your spirits up even when we hit a few stumbling blocks with some of these cookies! To the folks at Gourmet, thanks for putting up your favorite cookies feature and inspiring us to tackle this project.

Drop In & Decorate logo

Now for the 12th and final cookie, thin Moravian Christmas Cookies (1946). They are supposed to be white but we decided to make Christmas trees out of them. I had chosen another cookie for the finale, but as my time for Drop In and Decorate neared, I decided to combine 12 Days of Cookies and give away the cookies to some families that would enjoy them. Our moms group adopted 17 families this season, and several of us decided to decorate cookies for Drop In & Decorate and share the cookies with the adopted families. We made the Moravians and our family ginger bread cookies. Several moms and our kids planned to get together at Chateau Meyers this afternoon and decorate as many cookies as we could in 90 minutes, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. Even though some members of our crew were sick, we managed to decorate well over 100 cookies and then Michael and I finished the rest.

The children, ages 2 through 10, had a great time and enjoyed putting their own creative twist on the cookies.

Andrea's Recipes - Drop In & Decorate party

These Moravian cookies have to be one of my favorite cutout cookies ever. We had a bottle of dry Spanish sherry, though not as fancy and nice as Kelly’s, and added some of it to the dough. We didn’t taste the sherry, just a richer fuller flavor in the cookies that was so worth it. The dry seemed to balance the sweetness, which helps with all that sweet royal icing on top. The cookies are rolled very thin between sheets of plastic and require some gymnastics with flipping the whole round of cut rolled dough onto parchment then peeling back the extra dough, but trust me it’s so much easier than trying to nudge these loose from the plastic and transfer without breaking or sticking. The dough is soft and delicate and easy to work with and tasted good uncooked, too, a bonus for cleaning the bowl.

Andrea's Recipes - The 12 Days of Cookies, A Gourmet Cookie ExtravaganzaBe sure to visit all our friends in the cookie clan to see what cookies they chose as well as the Gourmet website to see all their favorite cookies from 1941-2008. You can find all of the cookies I chose for this marathon in the sidebar. Thanks again to all of the bakers who joined me. You made it even more fun than I expected. Happy Holidays!

The Rest of the Cookie Baking Clan

Judy of No Fear Entertaining

Sandy of The Bakers Bench

Kelly of Sass & Veracity

Courtney of Coco Cooks

Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen

Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants

MORAVIAN CHRISTMAS TREE COOKIES

Adapted from Gourmet.

Equipment

stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand mixer and large mixing bowl)
plastic wrap
cookie cutters
parchment paper
baking sheets
piping bags (or quart freezer bags)
couplers
decorating tips (We used #16.)

Ingredients

COOKIES
2 sticks (226 g) unsalted butter, cold
2 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons good dry sherry
more flour, 1-2 cups (120-240 g)

ROYAL ICING
16 ounces (454 g) confectioners sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons powdered egg whites
1/3 cup (80 mil) cold water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

1. COOKIES: In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter, adding the sugar gradually. Cream the mixture until it is light.

2. Add the beaten eggs and beat the mixture thoroughly at medium speed.

3. Sift 3 cups of flour with the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and add it alternating with the sherry. The mixture will be very wet.

4. Add more flour, 1 to 2 cups, to stiffen the dough, though it should not be very stiff, just enough to roll it out and hold its shape.

5. Divide the dough into four pieces and press into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill for several hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 450° F/230° C.

7. Between sheets of plastic wrap, roll the chilled dough very thin, about 1/16 – 1/8 inch (~1.5 – 3 mm) and cut it out with cookie cutters in star, diamond, or heart shapes.

8. Keep the dough on the plastic wrap and lay a piece of parchment on top of it, gently pressing onto the cut dough. Flip it over onto the baking pan, leaving the plastic on top. Chill the dough for about 5 minutes or more depending on the temperature of your home and how soft the dough is. If it’s too soft, you might have difficulty peeling away the excess dough.

9. Once it has chilled, carefully peel away the plastic and dough trimmings leaving the cookies on the parchment.

10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the edges don’t burn. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

11. ROYAL ICING: In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the sifted confectioners sugar and the egg white powder, stirring to mix.

12. In a measuring cup, stir together the water, lemon juice, and vanilla. (If you want to color the icing, add some liquid coloring at this point. Reduce the amount of water slightly to compensate for the extra liquid.) Pour the mixture into the sugar and mix on low until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute.

13. Increase mixer speed to high and whip for 3 minutes until the icing has stiff peaks.

14. Spoon into prepared piping bags and decorate as desired. Allow the cookies to rest uncovered for an hour or so to make sure the icing hardens and becomes stiff. Wrap cookies individually for gifts.

[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]

[Disclosure: This blog earns a few cents on items purchased through the Amazon.com links in posts.]

Comments

  1. says

    Fantastic! The cookies are beautiful, and what a wonderful idea to donate a portion of your cookies to the families you’ve adopted for the holidays. I also love the idea of setting a time limit to see how many cookies you can decorate — we found this year that people really get into a decorating groove and it’s amazing how many you can do when you’ve got all of the decorating supplies right at hand. Thanks for helping to spread the word about Drop In & Decorate!

  2. says

    How perfect to combine this project with Drop In and Decorate. Very nice. I want to thank you for including me in this project. I may have whined a bit, bit I would do it again in a heartbeat. It reaffirmed that I love to bake.Thank You.

  3. says

    Looks like a good time was had by all! We used to organize decorating parties like this when our families had lots of young children. Definitely the good old days! Your cookies turned out beautifully!

  4. Kitty says

    They all look great, but what are those gorgeous looking pink and white, half-frosted cookies in your blog header? Did I somehow miss that recipe (I’m a new reader!)
    As if I needed any more incentive to eat…right?

  5. says

    What beautiful cookies! They look almost too good to eat! But I think I’ll go get my cookie cutters out; one cannot have too many cookies in the house. At least not at Christmas time! I’m a new reader and I love your site!

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