Traditional Moravian Cookies

Stacks of Moravian cookies and tins for the holidays

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 culinary series is a trio of virtual trails (meaning you can start, stay or stop wherever you please), each serving up a healthy portion of intriguing history; delectable, tried-and-true recipes; and favorite places to sample and savor distinct and delicious Moravian dishes and delights. The first of the series introduced the whisper-thin Moravian cookies. Soon after, the city embarked on a savory stroll that’s all-things Moravian chicken pie (no, not “pot pie”), then finally debuted the Moravian sugar cake—a wildly popular treat for the winter holidays. 

With more than a million pounds baked here each year, Winston-Salem easily and proudly retains the title as the epicenter of the Moravian Cookie. This simple, but ever so sophisticated cookie, is a worldwide wonder for its incredibly rich—some even say intense—flavors and yet is so incredibly thin. Some bakers have even called 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.

recipe heading-plus-icon

  • ¾ cup butter and lard (combined) or shortening
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups black molasses
  • 7½ cups sifted flour
  • 4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup boiling water

1. Cream together butter and lard mixture with sugar. Add molasses and stir to combine. 

2. Sift together flour, spices, and salt. In a separate bowl, add baking soda to boiling water. Add flour mixture and soda water to butter-sugar mixture and knead dough by hand until mixture comes together. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll to “infinite” thinness. Use a ridged round cookie cutter to cut cookies from dough. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet and bake for a few minutes or just until they begin to brown. 

  • Recipe By
    Broad Branch Distillery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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  • carol
    February 1, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    Is 1 pint molasses correct?


    1. Hannah Lee Leidy
      February 6, 2023 at 8:10 am

      Hi Carol,

      Yes! Since this recipe uses more than 7 cups of flour, the cookies need a hefty amount of sweetener to develop their signature brown color and richly spiced flavor. You will want to use a pint (or about 2 cups) of the molasses. Enjoy and let us know how they come out!


  • Len Duffy
    December 15, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Just a quick note on your recipe for Moravian Cookies. The yield states it is 1 drink. Definitely expected a number of cookies.


    1. Hannah Lee Leidy
      December 15, 2022 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Len, thank you for letting us know. We’ve updated the recipe accordingly!


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