Skip to Content

Kossuth Kifli (Half Moon Cookies)

Kossuth Kifli (Half Moon Cookies) are delicious cookies from the old days. Very popular in Hungary, Romania, and other Eastern European countries, these cookies have a “cake” texture, are delicate, delicious, and good to make on a Sunday afternoon.

Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies  featured picture

Kossuth Kifli

Kossuth Kifli (Half Moon Cookies), or crescent cookies, are very popular in Eastern Europe. The batter is baked like a sheet of sponge cake. The cookies are then cut in the shape of a crescent moon.

While growing up, both grandma and my mom often made these old-fashioned moon cookies. This recipe was trendy because it used common ingredients that most people had in their pantries.

While researching the origins of these cookies, I discovered that they are pretty popular in many other Eastern European countries.

This recipe is so interesting because it has more of a “cakey” texture than a regular cookie, and it can be flavored with whatever flavor you wish. 

Today I am sharing a lemony version of these cookies.

Kossuth Kifli Cookies on a platter with orange fruit next to it

What kind of ingredients do you need for this recipe:


This recipe uses unsalted butter at room temperature.

To bring butter to room temperature, you have some options:

  • Leave butter on the counter for an hour or two before you start working on the recipe.
  • Put the butter in the microwave for a maximum of 10 seconds.
  • Fill a large, deep bowl with warm water. Place the stick of butter in a smaller bowl and submerge the bowl in the large bowl filled with warm water. Wait 10-15 minutes, and your butter should now be at room temperature.

Powdered Sugar.

Powdered sugar melts faster and mixes well with butter. You need to have a creamy mixture of butter and sugar.


Most recipes require large eggs, and this is what we are using in this recipe.

All-purpose flour.

Easy to use in most baked goods, all-purpose flour is the choice for this recipe. Please do not use self-rising flour because it will alter the final product. Self-rising flour has baking soda and also baking powder in it.


We need to use the juice and the zest from one lemon. You can also use orange if you prefer.

Vanilla extract.

Please use the best vanilla you can afford to buy.


Ground walnuts.

Ground walnuts are the choice for these European cookies, as walnuts are more popular than pecans. If you do not have walnuts, you can replace them with pecans or skip them entirely.

Other flavors that might go well on this recipe:

Almonds and almond flavor– Instead of walnuts and lemon, you can use chopped almonds. You can use almond extract instead of vanilla.

How to make these delicious Half Moon Cookies:

The recipe is available at the end of this article, so I will not write it down again. However, I just wanted to tell you what is different about these cookies.

After all the ingredients are mixed in the order required by the recipe, the batter is spread onto a prepared pan and baked for 20 minutes until the edges are lightly golden.

It almost looks like a sheet cake when you pull it out of the oven.

Kossuth Kifli Cookies dusted with powder sugar

After it cools down, the “sheet cake” is cut with a small round biscuit cutter or simply with a glass, in a crescent shape or half-moon (in my family, glass was used for this step).

Then you dust the cookies with powdered sugar, and you’re done!

Crescent Cookies close up

Very easy to make and delicious, this recipe brings back the simplicity of the old times when baked goods were made with basic ingredients and were easy to put together.

Half Moon Cookies - close up

Some recipe variations have chopped walnuts on top of the cookie to add more texture. My version, the one I had from my family, does not.

I think walnuts were not included because it was a relatively tricky ingredient to find in certain parts of the country between 1945 and 1990, when Romania was under communism.

However, you can certainly add them for a more enhanced flavor.

What kind of pan do you need for this recipe:

An 11 x 17-inch baking tray is what you need.

Kossuth Kifli on a platter

Can you freeze these cookies?

Yes, you can freeze the cake sheet after baking and cooling it or cut the cookies and then freeze them. Your choice. They are suitable for about three months in the freezer.

How do I keep these cookies fresh?

Keep them covered with foil on the kitchen counter for up to 3 days. They will get harder by the day, but there are still good with some coffee or tea.

Enjoy, and feel free to drop a comment to let me know what you think about the recipe.

More recipes to love:

Christmas Cookies&Bars From Around The World

Easy Romanian Traditional Easter Cheesecake

Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Coffee Flavored Sugar Cookies

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies 

Polvorones con Limon

If you make the recipe, share it with the hashtag #thebossykitchen on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter so we can all see what you’re cooking!

Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies is an old recipe, very popular in Hungary and also Romania and other Eastern European countries.

Kossuth Kifli ( Half Moon Cookies)

Kossuth Kifli, or Half Moon Cookies, is an old recipe, very popular in Hungary and Romania and other Eastern European countries.
4.47 from 13 votes
Print Pin Share Grow Rate
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: cookies, half moon cookies, Hungarian half moon cookies, Hungarian walnut crescent cookies, kossuth kifli cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 115kcal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice and zest from one lemon


  • 1 cup ground walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  • Butter and flour an 11inch x 17inch (27×43 cm) baking pan and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and continue beating.
  • Gradually add the flour.
  • Incorporate the vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice into the batter and mix well.
  • Separately, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.
  • Slowly incorporate them into the batter with a spatula, grabbing the batter from underneath to the surface. (this will keep the air in the egg whites)
  • Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Optional: Evenly sprinkle walnuts on top of the batter.
  • Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack before cutting the cookies.
  • When cool, cut half-moons shape cookies with a glass or a round biscuit cutter. Place them on a platter.
  • Finally, dust the cookies with powder sugar and serve.
  • They keep well in a tightly covered container for up to 2 days.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or like us on Facebook!

Note: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”
Recipe Rating


Monday 27th of March 2023

Hi there! I was just wondering if you’ve ever tried it with GF flour? I was going to give it a go either way but wasn’t sure if it would change the texture ‘n such.

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 27th of March 2023

Hi Meghan, I am sorry but I have no experience with GF flours. Some brands will tell you on the package how to do it. I would start checking that first.

Dinah Juhasz

Thursday 16th of December 2021

I have a question. The cookies doesn’t take baking powder? My mother who was hungarian, use to put a litle baking powder and baking soda, brushed egg and pu cristal sugar! On Christmas time she used red or green cristal sugar!!!😍👏🧑‍🎄

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 16th of December 2021

My recipe has no baking powder. You can add a little bit if you want, but as long as you beat the white eggs as the recipe requires, you don't need the baking powder.


Friday 7th of May 2021

We had two family recipes - one with baking powder and no separating eggs, and one like yours! My handwritten recipes faded. So thanks! Love the pictures with some uneven half moons. So homey and real-life!

Dinah Juhasz

Thursday 16th of December 2021

@Gigzi, I think that My mother use to do this way too….

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 7th of May 2021

Thank you so much for your awesome comment.

Monday 8th of April 2019

Saturday 19th of January 2019