Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

wafers are thin, crisp sheets made by cooking batter between flat metal plates. The traditional wafer iron resembles a pair of scissors with plates where the blades would be.

In a sense, wafers are descended from the Jewish matzah, since they originated as the bread (the Communion wafer) used in the Catholic mass, which has always been unleavened because the Last Supper took place during Passover. See passover. This bread (called oblata, “that which is offered,” by the sixth century) was regularly marked with a religious design before baking. The first wafer irons appeared in the ninth century, probably so that a religious establishment could make an unlimited number of wafers with a standard design over an ordinary fire without having to heat up an oven.