Moravian Christmas Cookies

It wouldn’t be Christmas without these paper-thin ginger cookies. Traditionally they are cut with a scalloped-edged cookie cutter, but are also found in tree and bell shapes during the holiday season.

Moravian Christmas Cookies


  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 pint molasses (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 7 1/2 cups all purpose flour


  1. In deep saucepan, blend all ingredients except flour, water, and baking soda. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cool
  3. Thoroughly dissolve soda in the boiling water and add to the mixture.
  4. Add 2 cups flour. Mix thoroughly with large spoon. Add more flour, spooning in and mixing as long as possible. Put remaining flour on countertop and knead the dough in gradually until dough is fairly stiff. You do not have to add all the flour as long as the dough isn’t sticking to the countertop Continue kneading until dough shines like patent leather when you rub your hand over it.
  5. Put the dough ball into a ziptop bag and store in a cool place or the refrigerator for a least a week. It can be stored for several weeks and little portions baked at a time.
  6. Allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling out cookies. When rolling the dough, roll very thin. Cut into cookie shapes and bake on very lightly greased cookie sheets (I don’t grease, just cover cookie sheets with a piece of no-stick foil). Bake at 325 degrees for 8 – 12 minutes. Do not let get too brown. Remove cookies from pans at once. Store in airtight container.
  7. Note: these spice amounts work well for regular grocery-store type molasses. If you use strong blackstrap molasses, you will need to double the spices.


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