Great Grandmother Schorr’s recipe is from Janice, my daughter-in-law, who is a wonderful cook. Her mother, Bonnie Wagner, has always made these cookies, so I consulted with Bonnie. I’d been accustomed to eating these spicy cookies for years but love them with Bonnie’s exact spice ratios, which gives you a slight after-sting, like a mild chili pepper. These are classic Christmas cookies, and make perfect gifts.–Shirley O. Corriher
LC Cookie Decorating Diva Note
Um, we didn’t decorate that sparkly snowflake cookie, that’s for darn sure. If you’re seeking some expert advice, we suggest you take a cue from Tish Boyle. You can sample her style by taking a look at the decorating instructions in her recipe at Tish Boyle’s Snowflake Cookies. And be gentle with yourself. If yours don’t appear exactly as hers, bear in mind, they shouldn’t. After all, no two snowflakes are alike.
Spicy Snowflake Cookies Recipe
Hands-On Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, not including resting | Makes about 30 intricate cookies
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses, such as Grandma’s
- 1 1/4 cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
- 1. In a large bowl, beat the shortening and sugar with a standing or handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add the molasses and beat until well blended. In another large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and blend on the lowest speed. Add another third and blend in, then add the final third and blend in. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight. (Letting the dough stand overnight allows the moisture to be evenly spread, which in turn ensures there are no wet spots that stick to the rolling pin or work surface and also that there are no dry spots that tear. This is vital for a dough that is rolled so thin.)
- 2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
- 3. Take a handful of dough and shape it into an 8-inch disc, about 1 inch high, as you might do in making a pie crust, on a lightly floured work surface. (Bonnie uses a large flour sack that is well floured as a surface to roll out the dough. I think a floured pastry cloth will work perfectly.) Keep the rest of the dough tightly covered. Roll the dough. You want to use only the smallest amount of flour possible to keep the dough from sticking. This takes practice. Cookie dough that is rolled fairly thin (1/8 inch thickness, but not less), doesn’t spread much when rolled this thin and is ideal for intricate cut-out cookies.
- 4. Cover a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the cookies with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter and place on the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges just begin to color.
- 5. Transfer the Silpat or parchment and the cookies to a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies sans Silpat or parchment to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
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Spicy Snowflake Cookies Recipe © 2008 Shirley O. Corriher. Photo © 2008 Akel studio. All rights reserved.