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Wafer-Thin Wonders on Winston-Salem’s Moravian Cookie Trail

By: TLP's Partners

Settled by Moravians more than 250 years ago, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, serves up a culinary trail series celebrating the destination’s deep Moravian food roots. The trio of virtual trails (meaning you can start, stay, or stop wherever you please) on this virtual series celebrates the intriguing history; delectable, tried-and-true recipes; and favorite places to savor distinct and delicious Moravian dishes, including the much-loved Moravian cookies.

The simple, but sophisticated Moravian cookie is fast becoming a worldwide wonder. Known for its incredibly rich—some even say intense—flavors, some bakers call it the “world’s thinnest cookie!”

At traditional sites such as Winkler Bakery in Old Salem Museums & Gardens, Dewey’s Bakery, and Mrs. Hanes’ Moravian Cookies, visitors can always savor these wonderful, wafer-thin cookies, each baked with rich ingredients and centuries-old traditions.

Stacks of Moravian cookies on a sheetpan
Image by Jay Sinclair

More than 200 years old, Winkler Bakery features the original wood-fired dome oven that has baked breads, cakes and confections since it was built in historic Salem in 1800. Bakers in period costumes welcome visitors, offer samples, and explain their baking techniques. Winkler Bakery is open and sells fresh baked goods seven days a week. Because of the sheer volume required, today’s cookies are made in a larger bakery off site, but all of their delicious products are for sale at the original location. The Winkler Moravian cookie recipe is adapted and updated from historic versions originally baked in the wood-fired oven. 

A Winston-Salem original since 1930, Dewey’s Bakery is a household name, especially during the holiday seasons. Throughout the year, Dewey’s bakery locations in Winston-Salem (Thruway Center and Reynolda Manor) are filled with a dazzling assortment of confections and cookies. Then in November and December, additional Dewey’s locations pop up across North Carolina for the holidays, offering an array of Moravian cookies, sugar cakes and, yes, cheese straws.

Mrs. Hanes’ Moravian Cookies is nestled in the rolling hills of Clemmons, a suburb of Winston-Salem. Tours of this family-owned business provide visitors an inside peek of the cookie company in action. Here, “Artists in Aprons” hand roll, hand cut and hand package more than 110,000 pounds of dough each year. They bake six flavors: sugar, lemon, black walnut, chocolate, butterscotch, and traditional Moravian ginger. Oprah Winfrey named this delicacy one of her favorites in 2010. On any visit you’re likely to meet Mrs. Evva Hanes, a seventh-generation Moravian cookie maker, and her husband Travis, who started the company. Today, their daughter, Mona, and son, Mike, work alongside them.

A host of restaurants in Winston-Salem are also on the Moravian Culinary Trail. The family-owned Milner’s American Southern restaurant, for example, offers a signature Moravian cookie and pecan-crusted salmon served with sweet potato.

Recipes to Explore the Moravian Culinary Trail

Moravian Cookies from Winston Salem, topped with blue cheese, walnuts, and honey

Traditional Moravian Cookies

Gingerbread old fashioned, inspired by Moravian cookies
Image courtesy of Broad Branch Distillery

Gingerbread Old Fashioned

With gingerbread syrup and baking spice-infused bitters, this cocktail from Broad Branch Distillery reimagines Moravian cookie’s snappy flavors in a smooth, sophisticated beverage. 

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