In cooking, a wafer (also spelled waffer) is a crisp, often sweet, very thin, flat, and dry biscuit, often used to decorate ice cream. Wafers can also be made into cookies 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. Many chocolate bars, such as Kit Kat and Coffee Crisp, have wafers in them.
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 oplátky) 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 wafer is considered a part of the traditional cuisine in Colombia, Venezuela and México where it is known as an oblea. Usually eaten as a desert 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, chantilly cream, among others. They are usually very popular as they are very inexpensive.
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.
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