← Back to Search Results
baking American
Moravian Spice Wafers Recipe-4276

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


The Moravians were a Protestant sect that settled in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. They were well-known for their belief in the spiritual rejuvenation that comes from breaking bread with loved ones. (Their religious services were called “love feasts,” and lasted so long that refreshments of coffee and buns had to be served.) These plain-looking but delicately crisp wafers have been baked for generations by families in the Winston-Salem area, and they are one of my absolute favorite cookies for gift giving.

Bakers who enjoy the zen of rolling dough should try these cookies, because the dough is rolled quite thin. Even if you don’t consider yourself a master “roller-outer,” the dough is very easy to work with. And don’t let the large yield scare you off. When you get into a rhythm, you’ll knock out the entire batch in no time, and you’ll have a mountain of cookies that store very well.

Yield: Makes about 10 dozen cookies


  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon brandy


1. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and salt together into a large bowl. In another large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the shortening and brown sugar together until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and brandy. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. (If the dough seems too dry, sprinkle with additional brandy and mix with your hands until moistened.) Gather up the dough and divide into 4 thick disks. Wrap each disk in plastic. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. (These cookies are best when baked one sheet at a time in the center of the oven.)

3. Work with one disk of chilled dough at a time. (Unlike many other refrigerated doughs, this dough is easy to roll, even when chilled.) Unwrap the dough, place on a lightly floured work surface, and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/16 inch thick, making sure that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface (run a long metal spatula or knife under the dough occasionally just to make sure, and dust the surface with more flour if needed). Brush any excess flour from the top of the dough with a soft pastry brush. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter (preferable with a fluted edge), cut out the cookies. Place the cookies ½ inch apart on cookie sheets lined with nonstick baking pads. Place the scraps in a plastic bag.

4. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, turning the sheet from front to back halfway during cooking, until the edges are very lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Do not overbake the cookies or they will taste bitter. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough, placing any scraps in the plastic bag.

5. To bake more cookies, knead all of the scraps from the 4 disks together. (If the dough seems dry, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of brandy and knead until moistened.) Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out more cookies and bake. Do not roll out the scraps a third time, as they will have picked up too much flour and will be tough. (The cookies can be baked up to 2 months ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.)


Make Ahead: The dough must be chilled for at least 4 hours or overnight. The cookies can be baked up to 2 months ahead.

© 1999, 2007 Rick Rodgers

Note from Cookstr's Editors

Nutritional information is based on a serving size of 3 cookies.


Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

84kcal (4%)
22mg (2%)
0mg (0%)
0mcg RAE (0%)
0mg (0%)
65mg (3%)
1g (3%)
3g (4%)
1mg (4%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
Free Activity Kit for Love Monster and the Last Chocolate!

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

desserts-4-today Desserts 4 Today
by Abby Dodge
fresh-from-the-market Fresh from the Market
by Laurent Tourondel
rosas-new-mexican-table-friendly-recipes-for-festive-meals Rosa's New Mexican Table: F...
by Roberto Santibanez
baked-new-frontiers-in-baking Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
cook-with-jamie Cook with Jamie
by Jamie Oliver
sunday-suppers-at-lucques Sunday Suppers at Lucques
by Suzanne Goin
julias-kitchen-wisdom Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
by Julia Child
big-fat-cookies Big Fat Cookies
by Elinor Klivans
down-home-with-the-neelys-a-southern-family-cookbook Down Home with the Neelys: ...
by Gina Neely, Pat Neely
david-rosengarten-entertains-fabulous-parties-for-food-lovers David Rosengarten Entertain...
by David Rosengarten
chez-panisse-fruit Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters
cooking-with-too-hot-tamales Cooking with Too Hot Tamales
by Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger
american-vegan-kitchen American Vegan Kitchen
by Tamasin Noyes
le-bernardin-cookbook Le Bernardin Cookbook
by Eric Ripert, Maguy Le Coze
the-new-basics-cookbook The New Basics Cookbook
by Sheila Lukins, Julee Rosso

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?