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Catholic Recipe: Moravian Love Cakes


  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 ounces chopped almonds
  • 1/2 pound chopped candied peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of cloves
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry or rum
  • flour
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: USA

Also Called: Kolachi; Gingerbread; Moravian Spritz; Moravian Spice Cookies

The Moravians brought early to this country from Bohemia by way of Germany their special observances of Holy Saturday. The Unitas Fratrum, or followers of Huss, settled in Pennsylvania in 1740, and at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, among other places, their early customs are still faithfully observed.

In Bethlehem, in the late afternoon of Holy Saturday a band of trombone players mount to the steeple of the church, where traditional hymns are played. Afterward, following a "love feast," a choir, accompanied by the trombonists, goes from house to house singing, and this continues until early morning. After a breakfast of Moravian sugar cakes and coffee, the entire congregation returns to the church for a pre-sunrise meeting. Then in slow procession all go to the burial ground, where the graves of the departed have been decked with flowers; there, facing the east, the trombones greet the rising sun. There is a short service, and a very joyous one, for the Easter day has dawned.


Boil the honey and sugar for five minutes. Add the chopped almonds and boil for another five minutes; then add the chopped candied peel, the soda, the nutmeg freshly grated, cloves, cinnamon, lemon rind grated, and the sherry. Add enough sifted flour to make a dough that will roll out thinly, cut into oblongs, and bake in a 300° F. oven for about twenty minutes. Ice with sugar.

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951
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