A wafer is a crisp, thin, sweet, dry and flat biscuit that's used to decorate ice cream. Wafers are also used together with chocolate bars, like the Kit Kat or Coffee Crisp bars.
Wafer is also the name given to the small round flatbreads that are used by Christian churches for celebrating the Eucharist. The Holy Wafer is the large biscuit taken by the clergy, while the Communion Wafers are the smaller pieces of biscuits given to the people during the Holy Communion. These Holy Wafers are special and they are made with images of the Holy Cross imprinted on them.
The Christmas Wafers are biscuits that are created with patterns that depict different religious scenes. These biscuits are popular during Christmas for many European families. The Roman Catholics of Eastern Europe celebrate their Christmas traditionally with the Christmas Wafers. In Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Italy, the Christmas Wafers are served during the Christmas Eve Vigil or the Wigilia.
The Oblea is a wafer variation that belongs to the tradition of Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, Ecuador and Columbia. The Oblea is a cookie enjoyed in these countries as a dessert food to be served with milk caramel (dulce de leche) in the middle. Some people like condensed milk as fillings, though. In other places within these regions, these cookies are served sandwiched with different other fillings like Chantilly cream, fruits and cheese.
The Freska is a wafer popular in Egypt and it is very much available especially during summertime. These Egyptian cookies are prepared thin and circular and filled with honey syrup.
Country of Origin and Usage
The Wafer Cookie was recorded to be available on the streets of Paris as early as the 14th century. There are even Renaissance cook books that have wafer recipes written on them.
Wafers are used commercially as decorations for ice cream servings. They are also being enjoyed as snack foods. Some manufacturers distribute their wafer products as sandwich cookies with different fillings. There are some brands that produce wafer sticks, which are the modern ice cream decorations.
Italian Wafer Cookies are called Pizzelle – from the Italian term Pizze meaning flat and round. These cookies are made really flat and designed historically with family crests. They are eaten as it or can also be folded into cones to be filled with ice cream.
Biggest Producers of Wafer Worldwide
Nabisco is one of the most popular wafer producers in the world, which makes the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers are one of the most popular wafer brands. Another well-loved wafer brand from Nabisco is the Nabisco Nilla Wafer.
Keebler Vanilla Wafers produces crispy and sweet vanilla wafers and these goodies are considered by many people as a timeless treat.
The Manner Original Neapolitan Wafers was created in 1898 by Josef Manner. These baked goodies are served in five layers of crispy wafer, with four layers of fillings in between. The most commonly used filling is the chocolate-hazelnut-cream combination. It is said that is Wafer brand is one of the best in the world, and because it has been available for more than one hundred years, that claim has its strong foundation. Manner offers it wafer cookies in different variations like; the Chocolate Cream Filled Wafers, the Hazelnut Wafers, and the Lemon Wafers.
Bauducco is another producer of high quality Wafers. This company distributes the popular Chocolate wafer variety and these are crispy sandwich cookies that are heavily layered with chocolate fillings. The Bauducco Chocolate Wafers are a bit different when compared with other wafer cookies that are commercially available as they are not too sweet despite the chocolate fillings. Most people who have tasted this wafer brand attest to the fact that these are the perfectly created wafer cookies. The best thing about them is that they are cholesterol-free. The brand name may not be as popular as other brands, but Bauducco definitely creates the best wafers in the world. Wafers from the Bauducco brand include the Dulce de Leche Wafers and the Vanilla Wafers.
In the United Kingdom, the Pink Wafer has been originally produced and popularized by Edinburgh’s Crawfords Biscuits. In 1960, the company was taken over by United Biscuits, but the Crawfords name was kept. This particular Wafer Biscuit consists of two pink wafers (dyed) with crème filling. It is quite a controversial variation of the Wafer biscuit because some people actually consider it to be more of a cake than a biscuit or a cookie.
Other popular wafer brands include the Streit’s Chocolate Wafer and the Bahlsen Hazelnut Wafer Cookies.
Ingredients and Preparation
The basic ingredients for Vanilla Wafers include: all-purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, unsalted butter, eggs, whole milk and vanilla extract.
Interesting Facts about Wafer
Wafers are enjoyed the world over. They do come in different shapes and sizes, and they are even prepared for different purposes. In some countries, Wafers are served for special occasions like Christmas. While in some countries they can be served and eaten at any time of the year.