A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

What’s a sonker? Ask bakers in and around Mount Airy, and you’ll get a thousand different answers. The 200-year-old Scotch-Irish tradition — deeper than a pie and juicier than a

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

What’s a sonker? Ask bakers in and around Mount Airy, and you’ll get a thousand different answers. The 200-year-old Scotch-Irish tradition — deeper than a pie and juicier than a

8 Stops On the Surry Sonker Trail

What’s a sonker? Ask bakers in and around Mount Airy, and you’ll get a thousand different answers. The 200-year-old Scotch-Irish tradition — deeper than a pie and juicier than a cobbler — was typically served in a rectangular baking dish and was a dessert large enough to feed a big family or farmhands who’d spent the day working in the fields. Each family’s recipe is different.

And although no one knows how or why Surry County became the center of the sonker world — or even the origin of its name — when locals hanker for warm, juicy fruit baked into a sweet crust, they know just where to go.


Anchored Sweet Treats & Savory Eats

Anchored owner Samantha Coleman is a third-generation sonker maker who brings a modern sensibility to her classic family recipes.

139 Moore Avenue
Mount Airy, NC 27030
(336) 705-3449
anchoredbakerymtairy.com


Miss Angels Heavenly Pies

Around the corner from Coleman’s shop is Miss Angels Heavenly Pies. To give her sonker a twist, owner Angela Shur soaked fruit in another mountain tradition, moonshine, and named the result “zonker” because it had a little kick.

155 North Main Street
Mount Airy, NC 27030
(336) 786-1537
missangelsheavenlypiesinc.com


Prudence McCabe Confections

Half a block away is a whole different kind of sonker: It’s baked in individual pans, and has a sophisticated, delicate flavor and texture, with a crunchy crust made by grating cold butter and sprinkling sugar on top when the sonker is almost done.

192 North Main Street, Suite 400
Mount Airy, NC 27030
(336) 648-8160
prudencemccabeconfections.com


The Tilted Ladder

The sweet potato sonker is served hot in a martini glass with a side of milk dip — which is not actually a dip but a sugar-milk sauce that’s traditionally poured over individual servings of the dessert.

105-A West Main Street
Pilot Mountain, NC 27041
(336) 444-4194
facebook.com/Tiltedladder


Rockford General Store

As befits the store’s location in the historic town of Rockford, this sonker is made in the traditional style and is topped with cold ice cream.

5174 Rockford Road
Dobson, NC 27017
(336) 374-5317
rockfordgeneralstore.com


Southern On Main

Each apple or blueberry sonker is baked to order and topped with vanilla ice cream.

102 East Main Street
Elkin, NC 28621
(336) 258-2144
southernonmain.com


Skull Camp Social House

Seasonal sonkers — with ingredients like raspberries, blueberries, and sweet potatoes — rotate as often as weekly, and are served with ice cream.

2000 North Bridge Street
Elkin, NC 28621
(336) 258-8124
skullcampbrewing.com


Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards

Mark Thrower, the executive chef at Harvest Grill, the restaurant at Shelton Vineyards, adds wine into his recipe for sonker, which he bakes in individual cast-iron pans and tops with vanilla frozen custard.

230 Cabernet Lane
Dobson, NC 27017
(336) 366-3590
sheltonvineyards.com

This story was published on Sep 13, 2022

Our State Staff

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.