read, cook, eat December 2009: Moravian Wafers

December 11, 2009

I won’t mess with you. These are fussy cookies. You have to make the dough, freeze it and then slice is thinner than the veil of secrecy around Tiger Woods’ extramarital dalliances. Well, maybe not quite that thin. But it’s worth the aggravation. And when you do get these gingery, peppery little Christmas wafers on a plate, pour yourself a second glass of milk because they burn!

Moravian Wafers
(From Maida Heatter’s Brand New Book of Great Cookies)

2 cups sifted unbleached flour
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp gound ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground white pepper (preferably freshly ground)
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
4 ounces (one stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mild molasses
1 egg yolk

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

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until mixed. Beat in the molasses and egg yolk. On low speed gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and beat until mixed.

Now place a piece of plastic wrap about 18 inches long on the work surface. Spoon the dough down the middle, forming a strip 12 inches long. Lift the two long sides of plastic wrap, bring the sides together on top of the dough and with  your  hands, press on the pastic wrap to smooth the dough into an even strip 12 inches long, 2-3/4 inches wide and 1-1/4 inches high with squared ends.

Place the wrapped strip of dough on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for a few hours, until firm, or as much longer as you wish.

To bake, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil, shiny side up.

Unwrap the strip of dough and place it on a large cutting bvoard. Use a long, sharp knife with a thin blade. Cut the dough into slices 1/8 to 1/10 inch thick. That’s very thin (see Note). Place the cookies 1 inche apart on the lined sheets.

Bake two sheets at a time, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during bking to insure even baking. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies, until they are lightly coloured.

Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes until the cookies are cool, then transfer them with a metal spatula.

Store in an airtight container.

Note: With a ruler and the tip of a small sharp knife mark the strip in 1-inch lengths. then slice the strip slowly, carefully, and evenly, and count the slices in each inch. If you get 8 to 10 slices from each inch, you are doing great. Try to cut them the same thinness in order to have them all finish baking at the same time.

And remember, make sure you have lots of milk. You won’t be able to stop yourself.

— Denise Duguay



  1. My father is Moravian. The way he tells it, in his youth they ate not cookies, but the flesh of defeated Slovakians.

    • yes but the mustard-powdered covered flesh, no? tis the season

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