Moravian Christmas Cookies

Moravian Christmas Cookies are paper-thin, crispy, spiced molasses cookies. Sweet and gingery, they taste a bit like gingerbread but are waaaay more addicting!

Day 5 (Part 1) of the annual 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 2021!

Firstly, let me boil down my college experience for you. At Wake Forest I learned a lot about math and French, a little about everything else consequently including keg stands (I know. College. Insert rolling eye emoticon here…), and emphatically that Moravian Christmas Cookies (MCC) are the things that sweet dreams are made of.

Wake Forest is located in the markedly booming metropolis of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 😉 And while it is best known for Krispy Kreme…oh you didn’t know the first Krispy Kreme was particularly in Winston-Salem? You thought it was started somewhere rather hip and trendy like Charlotte? Nope. Certainly fun fact Tuesday.

Anyways…the town was originally settled by Moravians who are long gone but their delectable wafer-thin spice cookies live on.

Moravian Christmas Cookies are paper-thin, crispy, spiced molasses cookies. Sweet and gingery, they taste a bit like gingerbread but are waaaay more addicting!

I didn’t even like crispy cookies before college. If I even spotted a hint of brown edges, I was undeniably moving on. Next!

But MCCs stole my heart before I even had a chance to say no.

My parent’s friends gave me a “Welcome to Winston” care package and above all, inside was Moravian sugar and Christmas cookies. I initially eyed the paper-thin, crispy cookies with disdain and set them aside, but I don’t need to tell you that school food is lack-luster at best. I won’t even tell you what I ate everyday for lunch for 4 years straight. It’s embarrassing. And, no, at any rate, it wasn’t fried. #healthyeating #moreroomforcookies

I opened the box.

It wasn’t long before I was opening that box of Moravian Christmas Cookies.

Moravian Christmas Cookies are paper-thin, crispy, spiced molasses cookies. Sweet and gingery, they taste a bit like gingerbread but are waaaay more addicting!

These cookies come in sleeves like Thin Mints. And by and large, like Thin Mints, I consider it a personal challenge not to eat the entire sleeve in one sitting.

Capital “A” addicting!

Even more, there should probably be a warning label of sorts.

Moravian Christmas Cookies are paper-thin, crispy, spiced molasses cookies. Sweet and gingery, they taste a bit like gingerbread but are waaaay more addicting!

If you love gingersnaps, gingerbread or any variation of sugar molasses cookies then you will adore Moravian Christmas Cookies. Adore.

It took me a few batches to nail the thickness (or thinness as the case may be with these cookies) and for that reason the baking time. There is a 20 second window between crispy perfection and burned. Don’t fret! I’ve done all the trouble shooting for you!

Can you see the difference between the two cookies in the photo above? The top one is the appropriate thickness and the bottom one was rolled more to the thickness of construction paper. After baking the cookie is just shy of 1mm. It’s time to practice those rolling skills!

The keys to rolling success*

* that I learned the hard way

  1. Roll them thin. When I say paper-thin, I mean paper-thin. Not cardboard-thin, not construction-paper-thin, not heavy-gauge-wedding-invitation-thin. Printer-paper-thin. They actually puff to double the thickness in the oven.
  2. Use a liberal amount of bench flour. Cover thy service with flour. You’re going to need it.
  3. But don’t cover the top with flour, just tap your hand on the counter and rub it on the rolling pin. You don’t want to see flour on the surface.
  4. Brush away excess surface flour with a clean, dry pastry brush. Do you know what flour tastes like when it bakes at 375 for 6 minutes? You don’t want to. It’s bitter and gross.
  5. I only rerolled my scraps once because of all the bench flour. Otherwise you work too much flour in the dough, which will make your cookies tough and tasteless. You want them to be thin like paper but not taste like it!
  6. Be gentle. Roll with love. A gentle, loving touch is the key to all good pastry. I learned that in culinary school. You’re welcome.
  7. You know your dough is thin enough when you can see the counter. It changes color from a dark molasses to a light brown sugar color. Congrats! You’ve arrived!
  8. There will come a time in the rolling process when you cannot lift the sheet of dough to get more flour under the center and your center is sticking and not rolling thinner. That’s okay. Gently roll out the edges to the proper thickness, cut with cookie cutter, and remove to your baking pan. Next, gently run an offset spatula under the dough and flip it over using both hands (with lots of love or it will tear – dough knows when you are frustrated. Trust me.). Sprinkle more flour and continue rolling and cutting. See. Problem solved sans tears.
  9. You can lightly dip your cookie cutter in flour and then tap off the excess.
  10. The store-bought MCC are perfectly flat. To achieve this you can bake the cookies with a second baking sheet on top. But, come-on, life’s little imperfections are what make homemade a million times better than store-bought. No?
  11. Send a picture of your paper-thin masterpieces to all your friends and family. Bask in the accolades. Come on, you’ve earned it!
  12. There was a brief moment in time when I thought I would use my KitchenAid pasta attachment for this rolling process. Ha! The dough is too fragile for that. There isn’t enough moisture or gluten to allow for short cuts. Unless you have an industrial-grade sheeter lying around, fuggetabout-it.

We all loved Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Orange Financiers!

Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Pistachio Cranberry Sablee Cookies!

We had Day 2 of the 12 Day Christmas Cookie celebration: Cashew Caramel Pretzel Blondies!

 Cashew Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Don’t forget about Part One of Day 2 of the 12 Day Cookie Extravaganza: Hungarian Walnut Rolls!

Hungarian Walnut Rolls

And who could leave out Day 1, Italian Pizzelles!? Make them all! But the Pistachio Cranberry Sablee Cookies are sure-fire winners because they can keep so long!

Italian Pizzelles
Moravian Christmas Cookies
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Moravian Christmas Cookies

  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 dozen 1x


Moravian Christmas Cookies are paper-thin, crispy, spiced molasses cookies. Sweet and gingery, they taste a bit like gingerbread but are waaaay more addicting!


  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, soda, salt and all the spices.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat the molasses just to the boiling point but do not boil. This doesn’t take very long so watch it.
  3. Stir in the shortening until perfectly smooth. Cool slightly.
  4. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand mixer to beat in the sugar mixture. Add a bit of the flour, stirring to combine. As soon as it starts to hold together in a sticky dough, scoop it out onto the well-floured counter. Your bench flour in this step is part of the 4 cups total flour.
  5. Knead in the flour with your hands until the dough holds together. I used about 3 ½ cups of flour. The dough will become very stiff and that is what you want!
  6. Roll into a ball and refrigerate until firm. I refrigerated it overnight.
  7. When you are ready to roll (ha! Sorry.), preheat oven to 375° and line several baking sheets with parchment.
  8. Cut off a portion of the dough and roll paper-thin on a well floured surface. Cut into 2 inch circles, I used the fluted cutter because that is how the cookies looked at Wake. A small offset spatula works well for lifting the delicate circles from the counter. Brush off any excess flour and place on lines baking sheet. They don’t spread at all, so I baked mine less than ½ inch apart.
  9. Bake 4 minutes; rotate tray; bake 2 more; cool on baking sheet; stack and repeat.
  10. I only baked one sheet at a time because my oven sucks and there is no such thing as a top third and a bottom third. Divide and conquer at your own risk.
  11. They bake and cool so fast that it really doesn’t slow you down.
  12. Store in an airtight container. Stored properly, they will keep for weeks. Possibly months, not sure because mine didn’t last that long!


Recipe from The American Heritage Cookbook, 1964 edition

These cookies are vegan! Tell all your friends!

The dough will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, so you can roll as much or as little as you would like at a time.

Moravian Christmas Cookies

More Cookies to make the season bright!

Old Fashioned Date Pinwheels

These Old Fashioned Date Pinwheels are soft, chewy cinnamon brown sugar cookies with a pecan date filling! They may be old fashioned but they are absolutely sensational!

Rum Refrigerator Cookies

Rum Refrigerator Cookies: Soft, chewy and moist – these cookies’ cardamom and citrus notes will positively brighten your holidays. A little nuttiness from the almonds rounds out these absolutely sensational cookies.

Cardamom Walnut Snowballs

Grandma’s Molasses Sugar Cookies 

A recipe for my Grandma's Molasses Sugar Cookies | Crispy on the outside and chewy within! The perfect cross between a gingersnap, sugar cookie and gingerbread!

Coconut Peppermint Pretzel Bark

This easy Coconut Peppermint Pretzel Bark is a minty mix of white and dark chocolate with candy cane "snow", salty pretzels and a hint of coconut! You will love the holiday mint flavor!

Cherry Pecan Cookies

These easy Cherry Pecan Cookies are soft, chewy and nutty. A cream cheese sugar cookie is generously flavored with almond extract and rolled in pecans! My favorite Christmas Cookie recipe of all time!

Hungarian Apricot Kolaches

Traditional Hungarian Apricot Kolaches | My Hungarian husband's favorite Christmas Cookie recipe! He says they taste just like his grandma used to make!

 Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Cupcakes

Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Cupcakes | Soft, moist apple cider cinnamon cake filled with spiced cranberry compote and topped with a cinnamon cream cheese butter cream! And don't forget the sugared pie crust leaf!

Soft Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Traditional Linzer Cookies 

A recipe for the classic Austrian Raspberry Linzer Cookies | A delightful rolled almond cookie filled with raspberry preserves and dusted with powdered sugar! A new Christmas favorite!

My Mom’s Gingerbread Boys

My Mom's Soft, Chewy Gingerbread Boys recipe! | It just wouldn't be Christmas without them!

Cranberry Cinnamon Jam Bars

There are few homemade desserts easier than jam bars and these Cranberry Cinnamon Jam Bars are not only easy they pack serious holiday flavor! The cinnamon streusel doubles as both the top and bottom crusts with a gooey, spiced cranberry filling in between.


  • Medha @ Whisk & Shout
    December 15, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Amazed at how thin you got them! Delicious 🙂

  • Erika
    October 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Absolutely love this!! Gotta make it asap! Thanks for sharing! I noticed some other recipes mention mustard among the ingredients? have you ever tried it?

    • Lindsey
      October 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Erika! I haven’t tried it but I can see that adding an interesting flavor to the spice mix. I have heard of adding it to gingerbread, so putting it in ginger cookies certainly makes sense! I took this recipe from an old cookbook and it didn’t have it. Happy baking!

      • JudyWicker
        November 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

        Moravians are not long gone, and their delicious favorites are available everywhere. Love Feasts are celebrated at all Moravian houses of worship in my hometown: Winston-Salem.

        • Kate
          December 13, 2018 at 10:54 am

          Uh, yeah. We Moravians are still here. Did you think the twenty-odd Moravian churches sprinkled around Winston-Salem were just for show? I mean, if you went to Wake Forest, there is one (Fairview) just down the road from one of the school entrances! know this article is a few years old, but could you remove or make a note about that statement? We already have enough stigmas about being all dead or Amish-like. Thanks!

          • Lindsey
            December 15, 2018 at 4:54 pm

            I am sorry I offended you, Kate. That wasn’t my attention. I meant that Winston-Salem is no longer a settlement of Moravians not that they didn’t exist.

          • Lester
            April 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm

            Winston-Salem was never a Moravian settlement. Salem was the Moravian settlement, and Winston and Salem joined as one city in about 1913. Moravians are not “long gone” in either, and in the rest of the world for that matter. I dont think Kate nor I were offended so much as she and I are pointing out your error. You might consider correcting it.

      • Karen
        December 13, 2017 at 9:29 am

        Hi Lindsey,
        I went to Salem College and I LOVE Moravian cookies. Thank you for the recipe and tips. These are my daughters favorite so guess what I am making her for Christmas? 🙂 Wink!

        • Lindsey
          December 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm

          Hi Karen, I hope you did make them and your daughter enjoyed them! I LOVE these cookies too. I didn’t have time to make them this year but I might need to do it in March just because! lol.
          Have you every had their thin sugar cookies? I haven’t found a recipe for those but I would eat those by the tube too!

  • KJ Wilson
    December 20, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I think a tip I got from King Arthur Flour on making rolled cookies would be of great benefit when making these. Instead of rolltheng the dough out on the counter, roll it out on the sheet of parchment paper going to use to line the baking sheet. Cut the cookies, remove the excess dough, then slide the parchment paper onto the cookie sheet. You don’t have to worry about lifting up the thin, fragile cookies and having them tear You transfer them from the counter onto the parchment.

    • Lindsey
      December 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Hi KJ, That does seem like it might work well! Thanks for the tip!

  • Ann
    January 2, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Just a suggestion/ shortcut, instead of rolling this by hand, use a pasta machine to roll out super thin. Work in small portions.

    • Lindsey
      January 27, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      Great suggestion, Ann!

  • Maeve Scott
    December 17, 2020 at 1:19 am

    Hooray! The only time I’ve had these was from my fromer husband’s Grandmother who was from Winston-Salem! I loved these immediately. For a couple of Xmads I enjoyed them. That was , ahem 45 years ago. These turned out perfect and in rushed a ton of memories. Oh well. Oh there’s a good one!…lol. Thanks for the recipe. I hope more folks try them. I love dipping them in tea, hot or iced. Happy whatever you do or do not celebrate! Me? Bring on the baking!

    • Lindsey
      December 21, 2020 at 11:12 am

      Thank you for popping by, Maeve! These cookies stuck with me too. The first time I had them was actually in a gift basket to my parents from someone who lives in Winston-Salem. When I moved there for college, I sought them out! They are worth the effort! Happy baking!


Leave a Reply

Recipe rating

Send this to a friend