Moravian Black Walnut Cookies

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This recipe is from an old family collection from my best friend who was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pa. before relocating to Schuylkill County and Ashland in the Coal Region.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Moravian connections

Bethlehem has a strong Moravian connection. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, also known as Christmas City, USA,  was founded in 1741 when a religious group, members of the Moravian Church, purchased land where the Monocacy Creek flows into the Lehigh River. Bethlehem was christened as such on Christmas Eve, 1741 in a stable while the small group of Moravians were singing a hymn with the stanza “Not Jerusalem, Lowly Bethlehem”.

Black walnuts lend a distinctive flavor

Black walnuts have a bold and distinctive flavor setting them apart from the more widely known English walnut. Nearly all Black Walnuts come from trees growing in the wild, while English walnuts come from orchards. Black walnuts are available in many major chain grocery stores, baking supply retailers, and are also available online from Hammond’s Black Walnuts.

I adore the flavor of Black walnuts, but if you do not like them, English walnuts can be substituted but the cookies will not have the distinctive flavor that makes them so special and sets them apart.

Simple to create

These cookies are a snap to create.

Moravian Black Walnut Cookies

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertsCuisine: Coal REgion, Pa. DutchDifficulty: Intermediate


  • 1-1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened to room teperature

  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda dissolved in a teaspoon of white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup medium chopped black walnuts (not English walnuts)

  • 3 cups all purpose flour


  • Cream butter and sugar until well blended.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well.
  • Roll into logs about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Refrigerate until completely chilled (or freeze), then cut into 1/4 inch slices with sharp knife.
  • Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake 325F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
  • Cool on wire racks.
  • OPTIONAL: Roll the logs in additional finely chopped black walnuts before wrapping and chilling.


  • I you do not like the flavor of black walnuts, English walnuts can be substituted but the cookies will not have the distinctive flavor that makes them so special and sets them apart.