In gastronomy, a wafer is a crisp, often sweet, very thin, flat, and dry biscuit, often used to decorate ice cream, and also used as a garnish on some sweet dishes. Wafers can also be made into biscuits with cream flavoring sandwiched between them. They frequently have a waffle surface pattern but may also be patterned with insignia of the food's manufacturer or may be patternless. Some chocolate bars, such as Kit Kat and Coffee Crisp, are actually wafers with chocolate in and around them.
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The word also refers to the special small round, often starchy flatbreads made for Western Rite celebrations of the Eucharist, including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and some of the more liturgical Protestant churches. The word "host" is used to describe the larger wafer used by the clergy, while the term "communion wafer" refers to the smaller pieces used to distribute Holy Communion to the people. These holy wafers often have an image of a cross or the crucified Christ imprinted on them.
Special "spa wafers" (Czech: lázeňské oplatky, Slovak: kúpeľné oblátky) are produced in the spa towns of the Czech Republic (e.g. Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, etc.) and the Slovak Republic (e.g. Piešťany, etc.).
Christmas wafers, whose patterns often depict religious scenes, are an Eastern European Roman Catholic Christmas tradition celebrated in Polish, Slovak, Lithuanian and Italian families during Wigilia (Christmas Eve Vigil).
A variation of a wafer, considered a part of the traditional cuisine in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, and México, is known as an oblea. It is usually eaten as a dessert with two pieces filled with arequipe, dulce de leche (milk caramel), and/or sweetened condensed milk in the middle. In some places, they might contain cheese, fruits, or chantilly cream, among others.
A pink wafer is a wafer-based confectionery originally made by Edinburgh's Crawford's Biscuits in the United Kingdom. It is now made by United Biscuits, the company that took over the firm in 1960, still using the Crawford's name. The snack consists of crème sandwiched between wafers (dyed pink).
Freska is an Egyptian wafer sold only on beaches in the summertime. It is made from two thin circular wafers filled with a thin layer of honey syrup.
Some wafers are produced with a chocolate covering.
- Waffle, the pressed cake
- Loacker, an Italian wafer manufacturer
- Elledi, an Italian wafer confectionery and manufacturer
- Manner, Austrian confectioner known for wafers
- Neapolitan wafer, the chocolate and hazelnut cream sandwiched wafers
- Nilla wafers, a thicker, small, round American cookie with a vanilla flavor
- Mille-feuille, the French layered pastry
- Pirouline, a rolled wafer, filled with a flavored creme
- Stroopwafel, the Dutch thin, caramel filled waffle
- Tompouce, the Benelux pastry
- Trakinas, a Brazilian wafer brand
- Horalky, the Slovak wafer bar
- ANZAC wafer, the ironic term for army-issue hardtack biscuit in World Wars I and II
- "Collins Dictionary".
- Dusy, T.; Rynio, J. (2004). Coffee and Espresso: Make Your Favorite Drinks at Home. Quick and Easy Series. Silverback Books, Incorporated. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-930603-39-4. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- "Pink Panther Wafers 200G - Groceries - Tesco Groceries". Tesco.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Swimming And Snacking On Egypt's North Coast". NPR. 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- Media related to Wafers (snack) at Wikimedia Commons