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The Chocolate Wafer Diaries

by on June 17, 2009 · 14 comments

Yesterday I bought the ingredients for a raspberry pie with a chocolate wafer crust. Thinking I’d save money by making the chocolate wafers myself, I used a recipe off a blog. The 14 tablespoons of butter was a clue that the cookies would be greasy, but I blindly followed the directions as written, ground up the cookies and made a sludgy, greasy mess of what would have been a chocolate pie crust. I shelved the raspberry pie idea and used the leftover homemade wafers in icebox cake. The cake is still setting, but the wafers haven’t turned to mush so I think they won’t be a complete waste after all.

greasy

Not wanting to give up on homemade chocolate wafers,  I found another recipe which had far less butter than the first and the addition of some brown sugar. The cookies tasted good and were fairly crispy, but they had a stickiness to them that was different than the store-bought. I’m freezing them and will test them in pie crust another day. They looked like this. Note the shape? Unless you’re really good at making perfectly cylindrical logs, you might have issues slicing this dough into perfect circles.

sticky

Finally, for my the final cookie test, I tried a recipe from King Arthur.  On paper, the recipe looked similar to the first cookie (the greasy one), but with a more practical amount of butter, an egg, and the added step of cutting the cookies with a cutter rather than slicing them off a log. The dough was sticky and it took a good chill to make it workable, but in the end this was the best of all chocolate wafers even though I couldn’t find my 2 1/2 inch round cutter and had to nudge a flower-shaped cut cookie to look like a circle. If you have a circle cutter, your cookies will be perfect!

perfect

KA’s Chocolate Snaps — AKA Perfect Chocolate Wafers

1 1/2 cups (6¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2¼ ounces) Dutch- process cocoa powder (natural is okay, but Dutch makes them darker)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. (8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoons water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. In a separate, larger bowl, beat the butter until light. Add the sugar and continue beating until it’s well incorporated. Add the egg, water, and vanilla and beat for at least 2 minutes, until the mixture has lightened both in color and texture. Gently mix in the dry ingredients.

Flatten the dough into a big disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. It will be very soft and will need at least 4 hours of chilling.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper.
On a clean, floured work surface, roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness, and use a round cutter to cut it into 2¼-inch circles. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. They won’t expand a great deal, so you don’t need a lot of space between them.

Bake the cookies for 17 to 18 minutes. Note from KA says to watch carefully because it’s difficult to tell when they’re done, as they’re so dark you can’t see if they’re brown, but when you start to smell them they’re probably done. If you smell even a whiff of scorching, remove them from the oven immediately.

Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool them completely.

Yield: 8 to 9 dozen cookies

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Published on June 17, 2009

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue June 17, 2009 at 1:54 pm

It sounds as if you’re going to have a lot of cookies to use as cookie crumbs. Maybe you’ll have to have your neighbors over for home made ice cream, and use all of those you have in the freezer as mix ins!!
This cookie recipe: http://basicallybaked.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/mint-chocolate-sandwich-cookies/
makes a nice crispy cookie once it’s completely cooled. You could skip making them into sandwich cookies. I think they’d be good in a pie crust.

Louise June 17, 2009 at 2:37 pm

LOL How much did you think you were going to save by making your own chocolate wafers? A 12 oz. box of Nabisco Famous Wafers is $3.99 at Wegmans. You only need 7 oz. for the raspberry dessert. :-)

Katrina June 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

And, so, did you/are you making the pie (it looks good) with the KA wafers?
I wanted to bake today, but it’s just too hot! Sigh. Been spending half the afternoon thinking about no-bakes.

Anna June 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Sue, thanks for the recipe!

Louise, technically I could have saved money. I already had cocoa, butter, flour etc. So if my first batch had worked out, everything would have been perfect. The most expensive thing in the recipe was butter and our store sells butter for $2.00 a pound.

That being said, I wasted more time and money trying to find a good recipe! But at least I have a good one now.

Also, I think $3.99 is too much to pay for those cookies. Nabisco, as much as I love them, dominates the chocolate wafer category and gets away with it. LOL. I usually substitute Oreos because with Oreos, you get enough for a pie crust and some leftover for eating. But in the end, crusts made with chocolate wafers are a tad bit less soggy.

Katrina, I decided to just make icebox cake and serve it with fresh raspberries.

Rina June 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Finally someone who understands! I completely agree that $3.99 (they are $4.99 at my local Safeway) is too much to pay for the Nabisco chocolate wafers and it’s unfortunate that there are no “store brands” that fit the bill. I made the brownie mosaic cheesecake (from Smitten Kitchen) last weekend and doubled the crust – the crust itself totaled $10!

Thank you for chronicling this topic and potential substitutes!

Louise June 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I don’t disagree that Nabisco Wafers shouldn’t cost $3.99, but among my many talents, I’m an old cost accountant. Even if you already own something, there is a cost associated with it. 2.5 oz of an 8 oz can of Hershey’s Cocoa @ $2.99 per can is $.937. 1.5 sticks of butter @ $2 per pound is $.75. An egg is about $.10. Just those three things, all of which you’d replace, add up to $1.7875 and we haven’t included all the ingredients. 7/12 of the Nabisco package @ $3.99 is $2.32. Enough said.

Anna June 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

A 9 oz pack of cookies sells for $3.99. If we use 7 oz (the recipe calls for 7 oz, not 7.5) then wouldn’t that be $3.99/9 oz = 44 cents per oz. and 44 cents x 7 oz = $3.08?

Also, from a cost analysis standpoint, wouldn’t you have to include the fact that the $3.00 spent on making the homemade cookies would give you double the cookies?

The point was, I saved $3.99 by using what was on hand rather than run to the store for a new pack of cookies.

Pearl June 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm

oh those choco cookies look luscious!

PJ Hamel June 17, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Hey, glad our chocolate wafers recipe worked out for you. I like to use these cookies for all kinds of nefarious purposes – e.g., the Famous Chocolate Wafer Cake (where you sandwich them with whipped cream…) Enjoy! PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour baker/blogger

Katrina June 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I hate math, especially fractions. Fun for a baker. Oh well. ;)

SUSAN June 18, 2009 at 5:40 am

Did you try Smitten’s recipe (http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/homemade-chocolate-wafers-icebox-cupcakes)? This is the one I’ve been using for several months and LOVE them – you don’t have to roll & cut – dough is in a log that you slice. 14 T. of butter but they don’t turn out greasy – very crisp. They have baked up perfectly for me every time. I refuse to pay $4.99 to Nabisco!

Louise June 18, 2009 at 7:06 am

Did you see this as a possible use for some of the cookies? http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Cream-Pie-109139

Anna June 18, 2009 at 7:14 am

PJ, thanks for stopping by! I probably should have made the KA version first.

Katrina, I like math when it’s applied to a task I’m trying to accomplish or, um, gambling. LOL.

Susan, that recipe didn’t work for me. The wafers seemed to have a bit too much fat and definitely too much butter to be used in the pie crust recipe I was making. In hindsight, it might have worked out had I adjusted the butter in the pie crust. Luckiy, the high-butter wafers worked out beautifully in the little icebox cake I made Todd.

Louise, you read my mind! I’m trying to collect a bunch of uses for chocolate wafers. Bookmarked!

Katy June 18, 2009 at 9:01 am

Ditto on the smittenkitchen recipe.
I use crushed wafers as a “bed” for a scoop of ice cream on a plate next to a chocolate dessert. It keeps the ice cream from sliding and adds a bit of texture. A trick used by many restaurant pastry chefs. You can do the same with graham crackers or animal crackers or crushed toffee to change flavors.

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