Moravian Wafers

I remember as a child, I was never enthused with Moravian Wafer cookies but after I would have one (I would not pass up anything related to dessert), I could not stop eating them. I only remember the round ones that came in small tins or cellophane. You don't have to worry about these wafers being perfectly shaped. I was concerned about getting them thin enough. Maida Heatter suggests using a ruler and cutting at every 1/8 inch mark. I just used a long, thin-blade knife and estimated the cuts. Some turned out too thick (although that certainly does not affect the taste of the cookies) but most of them were just right.

The wafers are supposed to be hard and crisp. My first batch were a little soft, even after cooling, so I baked the second batch a few minutes longer. That did make them firmer but they were still somewhat soft. Nevertheless, they are very good and excellent with a cup of coffee!

The dominant ingredient for these is the molasses. Have you noticed that molasses is difficult to find in stores? I did finally locate it in a large local grocery store but a lot of places simply do not carry it. I used Brer Rabbit Molasses.

This recipe comes from "Maida Heatter's Brand New Book of Great Cookies" (1995)

Moravian Wafers

2 cups sifted unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. finely ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mild molasses
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and mustard. Set aside.

Beat the butter until soft. Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the molasses and the egg yolk.

On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until mixed. The dough will be very thick.

Cut a piece of plastic wrap about 18 inches long. Spread it on a work surface and spoon the dough down the middle in a strip about 12 inches long. Lift the two long pieces of the wrap, bring the sides together on top of the dough. Press the dough into a strip 12 inches long, 2 3/4 inches wide and 1 1/4 inch high with squared ends (you don't have to be that precise but just get close to those measurements).

I always keep a ruler in the kitchen for matters like this!

Place the wrapped dough on a cookie sheet or long plate and place it in the freezer. Let it freeze for at least 2 hours or you can leave it and bake the cookies later. I actually waited until the following day to make mine.

When ready to bake, remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap and place it on a large cutting board. Use a long knife with a thin blade and carefully cut into slices about 1/8 inch wide. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly colored. If you baking them all at once and using two cookie sheets, rotate them middle ways through baking.

Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack with a spatula. Store in an airtight container. These cookies make wonderful Christmas gifts!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Spicy, crispy cookies. Yummy. Nobody at the local Ralph's knows how to find Karo essential for pecan pie either. They stock molasses and corn syrup with the maple syrup-types for pancakes, etc. Obviously the person who decides such things is not a cook or baker. Karo and molasses belong in the cooking & baking aisle not the dry cereal and pancake mix aisle.

  2. I have noticed that molasses is hard to find in grocery stores here in the PNW, I don't know why. Regional tastes, I guess. I ordered some on Amazon. Mustard powder in cookies! That sounds interesting. My husband will like these.

  3. I have a lemon cookie recipe that you do similarly. So good with tea (or coffee). And yes, molasses is difficult to find. Try finding Chocolate Evaporated Milk right now. I need it for a recipe and can't find it. UGH... Everywhere has Carmel and plain but not Chocolate! Come on people. It is baking season.

    1. I have never used Chocolate Evaporated Milk. I bet it is hard to find!

  4. Very interesting recipe, Phillip.

    I may have to see if I can get molasses... or maybe sorghum syrup?! :)

    Merry Christmas!

  5. My husband is crazy about Moravian wafer cookies, so I might try making these. They sound really good. For several years I've made a lot of gingersnaps at Christmastime for the people in his office. They are spicy and become very crisp as they cool, but they are not that thin, so it'd be interesting to see how the two cookies compare.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts