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Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies

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

Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies  featured picture

While growing up, both grandma and my mom used to make these old-fashioned moon cookies quite often. At the time, this recipe was a trendy one because it used common ingredients that most people had in their pantries.

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

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

They can be flavored in many ways, but today I am sharing this version of cookies with lemons.

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

What kind of ingredients this recipe uses:


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 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 bigger bowl with warm water. Wait for 10-15 minutes, and your butter should be now at room temperature.

Powder Sugar

Powder 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.

Lemon and Orange

From the lemon, we need to use the juice and the zest. From the orange, we will just need the zest. If you don’t have orange, you can skip it entirely.

Vanilla extract

Please use the best vanilla you can get. Fake vanilla is not vanilla, and even if you think it is OK to use, it is not.


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. Almond flavor can be used 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 or Half Moon 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!

Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon 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.

Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies iclose up

Some of the 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 you need for this recipe:

A11 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 you can cut the cookies and then freeze them. Your choice. They are good 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.

That being said, 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

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Yield: 24 cookies

Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies

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

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

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1/2 cup/ 125 g butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups/ 250 g powder sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 2 cups/ 250 g all purpose flour
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice from one lemon
  • optional: 1 cup/100g/3.5oz ground walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Butter and flour an 11inch x 17inch (27x43 cm) baking pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and continue beating.
  5. Gradually add the flour.
  6. Incorporate the vanilla, lemon, orange zest, and lemon juice into the batter and mix well.
  7. Separately, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.
  8. 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)
  9. Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  10. Optional: Evenly sprinkle walnuts on top of the batter.
  11. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack before cutting the cookies.
  13. When cool, cut half-moons shape cookies with a glass or a round biscuit cutter. Place them on a platter.
  14. Finally, dust the cookies with powder sugar and serve.
  15. They keep well in a tightly covered container for up to 2 days.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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Dinah Juhasz

Thursday 16th of December 2021

I have a question. The cookies doesnโ€™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!!!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿง‘โ€๐ŸŽ„

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 tooโ€ฆ.

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 7th of May 2021

Thank you so much for your awesome comment.

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