Savory & Sweet

Our Savory for the day would be Hannah Glasse’s Pea Soup with Grilled Emmer Flatbread. This workshop certainly concentrated on the sweet side. But Hey! Everyone wants lunch.  

All the ladies arrived and each chose a receipt (recipe) that needed to be started first. The Pea Soup would take the longest and we would be having it around noon for our lunch.  Rachel and Cindy began by reading  Glasse’s receipt and then started chopping all the ingredients. Stephanie  whipped up the batter for The Right Dutch-Wafers from Mary Kettilby 1724 cookery book. The receipt contains yeast so it  would need to sit and expand and bubble before it was ready to use. Then she washed and chopped fresh strawberries, added  sugar, and put them aside to be used on the waffles at lunch. The Grilled Flatbread receipt also need to rise so Lisa popped open the dark beer and added the yeast and sugar. Once that was ready she added the oil, salt and flour. We used emmer flour. Emmer flour is an ancient wholegrain flour much like whole wheat. It has a sweet, rich nutty flavor.  Marsha made the Lemon Cheese from the receipt of “The Cookbook of the Unknown Ladies.” We will use this in our wafers, cones, and rolls later.

Natalie is a pie crust master and began on Lydia Maria Child’s Common Pye Crust receipt while Cathy prepared Hannah Glasse’s Marzipan To Make a Hedge-hog.

Rachel and Cindy scooped up all the ingredients at various times and put them into the soup kettle, and, every so often, made sure to stir it well so nothing stuck to the bottom. With the final step they would be adding some more butter, ham, and Worcestershire sauce.

The marzipan and pie dough, made by Natalie and Cathy, was ready to wrap and rest until they were needed in the afternoon.

Several of the girls worked together to cut the candied angelica, citron, lemon peels, orange slices and almonds for Frederick Nutt’s Millefruit  Biscuits.

Cindy whipped the egg whites and orange flower water with the birch whisk. She wanted everyone to see how amazing it was that you could get such nice peeks from a wooden whisk.  The cut-up fruit and chopped almonds would be added to this and dropped onto parchment paper to dry in the oven.

The pie crust would be used for Richard Bradley’s, 1732 receipt, To make a Tart of Ananas, or Pin-apple. Rachel cut a fresh pineapple into small pieces for the pie. You could small the aroma of the sweet-scented juices as she sliced. The pineapple then went into a pot with sugar and sherry placed on the crane, high over the fire, and left to stew.

After about two hours of simmering, the soup was done and taken off the fire. The flat bread had risen and Cindy and Lisa oiled it before it went on the grill over the hot coals.

Everyone was working hard on a variety of items and it was time for a well-deserved break. The day was lovely and perhaps too warm for, however, this gave us a chance to remove ourselves from in front of the fire and sit on the porch and have our lunch. I had opened the porch door a bit, as the sun was shining in, and this made it cooler.

Sitting comfortably, Natalie and Rachael enjoy the hearty pea soup and flat bread, (not pictured) on the cool porch. The fragrant soup had many wonderful flavors as well as textures. The combinations of  dried peas, cabbage, leeks, onions, carrots, potatoes, ham and spices made it an epicurean delight. The flat bread was dense but had a nice reddish brown color  and a  nutty taste that is much more mellow and more pleasant than the typical whole wheat bread. Next time I think I’d have it rolled out flatter. I do wish we had a picture of it on the table. However, I can tell you it did taste wonderful dipped into the pea soup. 

Lunch on the porch gave us all time to chat and talk about what was to be done next. There were several receipts that were started in the morning that needed to be completed. One was our dessert. With lunch consumed, everyone went about getting the next part of their receipts ready. Stephanie had made the strawberries and  the waffle batter when she first arrived in the morning. Once the waffle iron was hot, she started making The Right Dutch-Wafer.  The “Right” means authentic or true and  the wafers batter contains yeast. These ‘Wafers’ what we would call waffles nowadays. 

As she made them they were put into a pan and hung on the crane over the fire to keep warm.  

The batter was just right and made perfect waffles. The strawberries , with their sugar added, had macerated and had just the right amount of liquid to drizzle on the waffles. The waffles were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and had a nice taste of orange flower water that complemented the strawberries. And, yes, we had whipped cream to go with it.

The simmering pineapple was not losing much of its liquid, perhaps making more as it stewed. I was afraid that additional heating would break down the pineapple and we would have just liquid. I decided to have Natalie add sago. Sago is almost a pure starch that comes from the sago palm and has been used for centuries to solidify puddings. It’s like tapioca. This worked and the pineapple thickened and was no longer watery.

Lisa puts the Millefruit  Biscuit in the bake oven. Later in the day, we took them out and they still had to dry some. I put mine back into the oven for the rest of the afternoon, and they were fine by the time I went to bed. They do take a long drying time. I liked the taste of the fruit, however, the nuts got lost, so next time I’ll double the amount.

In the morning, Marsha and Lisa had made the dough for the  Dutchess of York Biscuits from Joseph Bell’s 1817 cookery book. Now it was time to  roll, stamp and dock the biscuits. Everyone got into the swing of it, and seemed to have their favorite mold.

Stephanie was back at the fire melting chocolate for our Chocolate Drops. Lisa and Marsh helped Stephanie with the drops. We left a few without sprinkles of nonpareils for Marsha.

While the biscuits baked, two wafer irons were made hot. We used  Elizabeth Moxon’s 1764 receipt for To Make Goffer Wafers. I’ve found that this works every well with my irons.  Cathy and Natalie teamed up to pour the batter and work the two wafer irons.

Rachael  helped to roll the wafer into shapes. She used a tin cream horn mold and a wooden dowel. She had to work fast. They were hot when the came off the iron, nevertheless they cooled quickly and became rigid.

With  all the receipts completed it was time to sit down and make marzipan. Stephanie mixed colors and I showed a few samples that I had already made and some pictures.  Everyone sat down and let their creative juices flow.

Rachel made this wonderful Medieval dragons and  Cindy put some cinnamon on the face of her hedgehog.

As adults, it is always enjoyable to play with food that feels like play dough. The ladies let their artistic abilities soar. The marzipan turned into strawberries, apples, lemons, limes, hedgehogs, dragons, pears, oranges, pumpkins and a malamute dog (made by Natalie) .

From the oven came the Tart of Ananas. Once again we see the creativity of Natalie, she took the extra dough and made a pineapple shape and when it came out of the oven she added a few sprigs of rosemary on top. A show-stopper for sure.

Next, the pretty-looking Dutchess of York Biscuits were done. This is a simple receipt made with butter, sugar, flour and water. It has very little in the way of flavor. However, that said, I did enjoy mine dipped in my tea and also tried it in my wine, as they would have in the 19th century. I liked it best in my tea.

Marsha piped the lemon cheese into  the wafer cones and a bit of chocolate was dipped on the ends of the rolled wafers.

It was an enjoyable, busy, and productive day. Everyone had fun, learned some new receipts and went home with containers filled with soup, flatbread, and desserts. I’m sure there were many happy husbands that evening.


“Mama usually made pea soup. On Sunday nights she cooked it – and not just enough for one or two repeat performances. She made enough to last until the following Saturday. Then on Sunday, she’d cook another one. Pea soup, bread, sometimes a small portion of potatoes or meat. You ate it up, didn’t ask for more, and you didn’t complain.”   The Book Thief

Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not! ~ Author Unknown




Our workshop for Old Fort Western took place at the Col. Ruben Colburn House in Pittston Maine, during an encampment with Benedict Arnold, on Columbus Day Weekend.
colburnhouseLed by Colonel Benedict Arnold, a force of 1,100 soldiers began what is now called “Arnold’s March” or the “Arnold Expedition,” here on Colburn’s property. Among those who accompanied Arnold were Aaron Burr, Henry Dearborn, Daniel Morgan, and men from Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Untitled-0With the autumn harvest in, Linda Novak, the Director/Curator of Old Fort Western gathered the needed ingredients for a weekend of hearth cooking. A local farm and fishery supplied a wonderful array of ingredients for the hearth. Her brother Stan’s contribution was meat and fat from his pig. How fresh can you get? With just a few other items from the store we were ready to roll up our sleeves and cook.

The men who spent the weekend camping outside kept our fires going both days, by splitting the wood and hauling it in.     WE CAN’T THANK THEM ENOUGH!

Untitled-8 copyWe started off Saturday with just a few people but as the day and weekend progressed we ended up with 12 cooks and plenty of hunger campers. All the time we were there we had many visitors, for the encampment and to watch us cook. Our menu for the first day was stuffed pumpkin, chicken on a string, fried cocks’ combs, onion pie, cheese loaf, molasses cookies and wafers.The workshop was designed to explore methods of using the hearth as an educational tool to connect the public with the Foodways history of Old Fort Western and the people that lived there.

Untitled7Not everyone was impressed with the idea of cocks’ combs, however Linda literally dug right in and boiled and peeled them; they were then fried in duck fat. When they came out of the kettle they disappeared so fast I never got a picture of them. They tasted just like bacon but better. We did save one for Linda who did all the work getting them ready to cook.

4After the inside of the pumpkin was cleaned of seeds, pricked with a fork and rubbed with dry mustard, Perry and Tessa took the boiled rice, chopped meats, spices and herbs mixture and stuffed it leaving a bit of room for expansion. With the lid back on, it went into the fireplace at the front side to roast, being turned every so often. Stephanie chopped some of the ingredients for the stuffing as he wanted to keep her distance from the cock’s combs.

Untitled5 copyThe molasses cookie dough was made and rolled out between parchment paper and put in a cool place to dry a bit. Then Tessa took a decorative rolling pin and made the cookies for our dinner. Some were cut in squares and some without a design were cut round. Stan was amazing; his mother taught him how to cook when he was young and he is an excellent pastry maker. Both days we put his skills to good use.
5 copy

While he took the onion pie out of the bake oven the ladies sat with the camps doctor and learned a bit about herbal cures and how to dress a cut finger.

Untitled-3 copy Using the wafer iron from Old Fort Western Stephanie, Tessa and Melissa made a nice stack of wafers and whipped cream with sugar for the top.

wafers copy Everything started to come together, and while Perry took care of the chicken, Stephanie sliced the cheese bread, one made with grains from King Arthur Flour.

Untitled-2 copy With the table spread with all our efforts, the line began and food was piled on plates to be taken to the dining room.
Stich-1  copy Soon the word was out and the encampment spilled into the kitchen for a taste. There are always leftovers. And I could not pick one receipt that I enjoyed over another. They all came out as expected and were enjoyed by all.
Untitled-11 copy It was a good first day. Even though the well went dry by mid-afternoon. I have to thank all the helpers who took items home to wash and brought back two gallons of water each the following day so we would have enough to drink, use and wash with.

Day two will be out soon so stay tuned for our second day of fun.


“Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.” ―Benedict Arnold



Using 17th & 18th century original receipts can be difficult, as they were written in the narrative, like a story. They don’t always have measurements, unlike the modern cook books of today. Flours are made differently and other ingredients are not exactly the same. However, reading the receipt is fascinating; and rewarding, and the only way to truly understand them is to cook them. So a few friends decided to spend a day testing receipts for wafers and I baked bread in a kettle and buns a tin oven, instead of my bake oven. The following are the results.

The day started off with a definite chill in the air, great weather for heating up the hearth. With a stack of receipts for wafers and waffles, and armed with six irons, we were ready. I also made a bread dough the day before and let it rise all night long.

I conducted the bread experiment to see how a small loaf would bake in the cast iron kettle and a few rolls in the reflector oven. I am giving a workshop for the folks at Old Fort Western in Maine next month and they do not have a bake oven. They want to put together a group of receipts that can be demonstrated to the public when they are open. So bread is always a great showpiece, and the smell is glorious. I used a French bread receipt from, The English Art of Cookery, Richard Brigg, 1788. I wanted to make the texture more like that of a less milled flour, so I added some King Arthur Harvest blend of seeds and grains , whole and flaked to add a bit of rustic crunch to the finished bread. 

In the morning, I heated up a 12-inch bake kettle and the reflector oven. I divided the dough, worked it a bit and put a round loaf on some parchment paper in the kettle and made a ring of coals around the outside of the top and bottom. I was careful not to put any in the center as I did not want to scorch the bread, just bake it. I placed a few rolls in the oven, set that on coals and faced it towards the heat. The loaf was done in 35 minutes and the rolls needed to be taken out and turned around, so they took about 45 minutes. Below you can see the finished bread and wonderful fresh eggs Nancy brought for our receipts.

5jpgNancy brought four irons, and I had two, so we greased them all up and chose two to warm on the trivets.

Nancy began on a Dutch yeast wafer receipt by Mary Kettilby that she was eager to try. This batter needed to rest, so, after she mixed it she placed it on the high shelf of the cupboard to rise. While I was busy with the bread Barbara started on the Elizabeth Moxon’s 1764 receipt for making Goofer Wafers.

Now the word Goofer with wafer might mean several things and the more you read wafer receipts the more confusing it becomes; does Goofer mean the iron shape or does it mean a deeper pancake-like wafer. I have not found any good explanations for the word. It is a mystery for now. However, as we know, when you’re looking for something you often find something else; it might pop up yet.

With the irons hot, we started with Moxon’s and found that the coversion to a smaller amount needed adjustment. So, by adding a bit more milk and cream, we ended up with a consistency we thought was okay. The next issue was how much to put on the irons. We were very careful not to overfill at first and ended up with small wafers that did not fill the iron. Also one round iron kept making pancakes. This iron had a very deep lip round it so flat wafers were out of the question.

3 copyI mixed up a receipt translated by Peter Rose from, The Sensible Cook Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World. This called for wheat flour and chardonnay. We tried this batter in several irons and none of them came out to our satisfaction and they tasted awful to boot. So we dumped that one with haste.

We kept trying all six irons and found that my small one, two of Nancy’s round ones and her rectangle one made the best wafers while her deep surface iron made pancakes.

This was getting exhausting. The irons are heavy and the heat was starting to get to us, time for a break.
We took our lunch out onto the screened porch. There was a very chilly breeze blustering through and cooling us down while we chatted about old houses and restoration. Fortified, and ready to stand by the fire once again, we took the Dutch receipt off the shelf and found that it had not risen very much. Again we added to the amounts, more butter and sugar, and returned it to its warm place.

Hannah Glasse has a receipt To Make Whafles. Barbara mixed up the batter that was to be rolled in small balls the size of a nutmeg and baked. Dividing the batter into smaller portions didn’t work out very well and we ended up with a loose batter. So we thought why not give it a try. Well, they were not bad, however, we ran out of the irons too quickly. We then added lots of flour and made round balls and that worked wonderfully. Nancy’s rectangle iron made the most beautiful designs. With the small round irons we could roll them up in cones or sticks.

The Dutch yeast receipt had risen and had a weird sticky egg color glue like batter. We again started out cautious, putting just a bit in each of the irons and commenced to putting in more. We liked the results produced by several of the irons and stopped using others.

I ran off and made Lemon Cheese from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies, to fill our cones and rolls. During the day a pot of chocolate with a teaspoon of cream melted by the fire ready to be dug into.

3 copyWith each receipt we tried different irons and the most interesting iron which I thought was a waffle iron turned out to be a 1611 wafer iron. It was decorated with a family crest in the center surrounded by many rectangles of stars and on the other side a wonderful center with initials MC surrounded by flying birds with a small star over their heads, a most remarkable iron.

Now, from what I have learned, pizzelle are a traditional cookie from the Abruzzi region of Italy. They are thin wafer cookies that look almost like our 18th century wafers. And perhaps this 1611 iron is one made for a woman in Italy to make her cookies or thin wafers on; oh, if it could only talk. We all loved it and I must say I was sorry to see it go home with Nancy, the lucky gal.

4 copyTo sum the day up I would say our two top favorite receipts were Hanna Glasse’s “To Make Wafers,” and “The Right Dutch-Wafers” from Mary Kettilby. And we all learned a lot about making wafers.

We still have other receipts we want to try. One has cheese in it and might be great with a glass of wine.

Some hints for making wafers, make sure the irons are hot, listen for the steam to whistle and don’t over-pour the batter. We are looking forward to doing more receipt trials.


“Today we will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie “ Cookie Monster


WAFERS 101-3

I was not going to give up until I found the perfect wafer receipt. I looked at every wafer receipt I could find and read everything I could online about making them. I had emails from supporters cheering me on. I even received an email from both Clarissa Dillon and Mercy Ingram, who have been following my tale of woe.

They had made wafers a few weeks ago – not just to make wafers, however. It seems Clarrisa is working on a publication celebrating the arrival of the Dutch and the founding of New Amsterdam 400 years ago. And the Dutch made wafers. Mercy emailed me great pictures of the process and the receipt, To Fry Wafers, from the Sensible Cook, Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World, translated and edited by Peter Rose. It has a lot of cinnamon in it and ginger. So I printed this receipt as a possibility.

Still searching, I found “To make the best Wafers,” Gervase Markham, The English Housewife: Banqueting and made dishes. Others seemed to have success with this receipt. I also re-read a great article by Louise Miller, The Wafer – A Delicate Dessert. This had the receipt, “To make Goofer Wafers” from the English Housewifery by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764.

I really liked the name of Elizabeth’s receipt. What are goofers? With a bit of research I found that in the Oxford English Dictionary it is spelled gofer and is defined as a thin batter-cake with a honeycomb pattern stamped by an iron plate and Gofer irons is mentioned. So that is where the interesting name comes from. My wafer irons is the same as Moxmon’s Gooffer irons.

It’s Sunday night again and Allan fires up the hearth. Elizabeth’s receipt won the shuffle on the table and I cut it down by a fourth. I instantly loved the batter. It was much thicker than pancake batter and stuck to the spoon. We heated up the goofer iron and I put a blob of the batter in the middle on the hot side. Allan closed it up, this time there was a loud whistling sound as steam escaped. OH! Horror, visions of last week swam in my head, batter spitting out everywhere. BUT NO, I could smell the cinnamon and nutmeg and everything looked okay. After a few minutes of turning, Allan opened it up and I took a picture of the best looking wafer we have made so far.

1 copy

As they came off the hot iron, I rolled them up, for the first one I used the tin cone. However, I really wanted to try to make them like piroulines.

I grabbed a wooden spoon and put some butter on it and I began rolling the wafers while still hot. First I was doing it on the plate and they were not very tight. I took some parchment paper and put it on the table then rolled them and that seemed better, yet still not small and tight as I would have liked.

2 copy

Allan went to the basement and came back up with a ¼ inch dowel washed it and buttered it. This worked better, still not the size of a pirouline. Perhaps it is because the size of the wafer is not large enough.


However, by now, I’m beaming and ecstatic that I found a receipt that I can share at the Just Dessert Workshop in a few weeks. It took trial and error and I appreciate the encourgament from everyone.

I will take these wafers and put them in a tin and see how long they will last. Not because we would eat them in short order, however, because I want to see if they will still be as good in six months as when they were first made. By the way the receipt made 8 wafers and one was shared by Allan and me. Yes, this is definitely a keeper receipt. It tasted wonderful.


Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.

Napoleon Hill



WAFERS 101 -2

The wafer iron is fixed, Allan said it was one of the easier tasks I’ve asked him to do as of late. He found a piece of heavy gauge steel wire and wrapped one end tight on the handle and made a hook on the other end, and, just like that, it was fixed!



Sunday rolls around it’s time to try wafers again. This time Allan wanted filling in his. With a bit of research I came across a Lemon Cream receipt I thought would resemble a cannoli filling.

Lemmon Cheese

The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A qurt of good thick sweet creame. Put to it the juce of four lemons as as mutch peel as well give it an agreeable  flavour. Sweeten it to your taste & add a littile peach or orange flower water if you like it. Whip it up as you would for sellabubs but very solid. If you have a tin vat, put a thin cloath in it & pour in your cream. If not, put it in a napkin and tye it pritty close. Hang it up to let the whey run from it. Make it the night before you use it. Garnish it with currant jelliy or candied oranges.

I had some ricotta cheese and so cheated a bit and did not make my own. I whipped the cream until it had high peaks. In another bowl, I mixed the orange flower water, confectionary sugar, lemon zest, a bit of lemon juice and the ricotta cheese. I then folded the whipped cream into the cheese mixture. Hmm, tasted pretty good.  Now I just need to melt, at the last minute, some of the American Heritage Chocolate made by Mars. I bought it the last trip we took to Old Sturbridge Village. I’ll fill my wafers with some of this and dribble the rest on top.

So it was time to try another wafer receipt. After looking over several, I decided on Charles Carter’s receipt. This is very different from the one I tried last week. No eggs are involved, and it uses sack and cream to make the flour into a “Pancake Stuff.” It will make a nice comparison.

 To make Wafers Brown, the beft Way.

The Practicle Cook, Charles Carter 1730

TAKE a Pint of good Cream, and thicken it with fine Flower dry’d, as thick as Pancake Stuff; put in fome Nut­meg and beaten Cinnamon, and a Gill of Sack; ftir it well, and fet it by the Fire to rile, and then bake them off quick in your Moulds; fometimes butter your Moulds, and roll them off quick, and keep them dry for Ufe.

 I mixed all the ingredients together while Allan got the fire going so we would have lots of coals. I didn’t like the consistency of the batter, it looked weird. I figured it must be the grated nutmeg and the cinnamon.

With everything ready, Allan opened up the hot wafer iron and I poured in the batter. This did not look right. Once he clapped the iron shut, the batter spurted out steam and batter violently. I wish we had a third person there to have taken a picture of this goo and steam.

Undaunted, we put it over the coals on the trivet and timed it for 4 minutes on each side. I wish you could have seen our faces when we opened up the wafer iron and saw a small paper thin transparent wafer. And it seamed greasy for some reason. I rolled it quickly around a tin cone and set it aside.

So, we tried again. I wiped the iron really well to make sure remove any traces of butter. Once again, Allan held the wafer iron while I spooned just enough of the batter in the middle and he clamped it shut. Gooey spattering again, the batter shot out like lava from a volcano. This was not looking good. The next wafer was a bit larger in size; however, it was transparent and greasy too. I rolled it up on a tin cone and put it on the plate. Allan wanted to know why this was happening. Our first wafers last week came out relatively good considering the handle issue. With some thought, I figured that the moisture from the sack and no eggs was the problem.

I took the batter to the kitchen and tossed it in the garbage. Back to square one. I went into the office and printed out Sir Theodore Mayerne’s receipt that I had used last week and proceeded to make a new batch of wafer batter. With the wafer iron getting hot over the coals, we started all over again. This time we nailed it, and came up with wafers nicely browned and the right thickness.

Yea, break out the filling and melt that chocolate!!!

From the left you have last week’s wafer from Sir Theodore Mayerne, then the thin and greasy wafer of Charles Carter then the perfect wafer with comfits, from the receipt of Sir Theodore Mayerne. On the right we have Mayerne, Carters and then Mayern’s again. Okay, the presentation might not be there, yet we at least have a few wafers with filling.



So what did we learn?


Wafer irons need a latch so you don’t have to sit in front of the fire      and bake your hands and face.


Charles Carter’s receipt tasted okay, a bit greasy for reasons that we are not aware of (We had put just a bit of butter on the wafer iron; so it was not that.)


The Lemmon Cheese receipt was very good.


Good chocolate is like bacon; you can’t have enough.


Allan does not like comfits.


Start making the wafers early – our dinner was late due to regrouping.


And try one more receipt.


(Allan) You are my favorite excuse to whip cream. Anonymous Voyeur


A year ago, I bought an 18th century wafer Iron. It was a bit on the rusty, gooey side and needed a good cleaning and seasoning. The plans to get it in working order unfortunately fell by the wayside. However, it is now clean and has been seasoned by Allan, so it is time to try it out.

I looked at several receipts for wafers and came up with three different ones. I thought I’d start with the oldest and work forward in time to see how the different receipts compared. The first receipt was copied from a choice manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne, written in 1658, and includes “rare forms of sugar-works: according to the French mode, and English manner.”

The receipt follows.

Take Rose-water or other water, the whites of two eggs and beat them and your water, then put in flour, and make them thick as you would do butter for fritters, then season them with salt, and put in so much sugar as will make them sweet, and so cast them upon your irons being hot, and roule them up upon a little pin of wood; if they cleave to your irons, put in more sugar to your butter, for that will make them turn.

Being that this was a test of the newly seasoned iron I made a very small batch and I added orange flower water instead of rose water, a personal preference and not a huge change to the receipt. I put in enough flour so the batter was similar to a fritter batter mentioned in the receipt.

I put a trivet near the fire and shoveled hot coals under it. I rubbed the inside of the wafer iron with oil and placed it on the trivet to heat up. I waited about five minutes turning it twice.

Making wafers is a two-man job, so as Allan held the wafer iron open while I poured a spoonful of the batter in. Allan clamped down on the iron and put it on the trivet. Two things happened. I had put a bit too much batter in so it ran out the sides, and once the iron handles were let go, they instantly opened a bit. I grabbed a pot holder and clamped down hard.Untitled-1 copy

Now as I sat on a stool before the fire warming myself to a point of doneness, I remembered that the handle should have a little fastener on the end to keep it shut. Well I’ll have to get Allan to make one for the end so I won’t have to sit there roasting.


So I sat by the fireplace turning the wafer iron over and over so both sides would get cooked. After three minutes I took the iron off the fire and put it on the plate for Allan to remove the wafer.  He needed to scrape off the overflow first then I opened the iron and the wafer came off nicely. I took a tin cone and wrapped the wafer around it and we started the process all over again.


This time I did not put as much batter in for the second one. I also let it sit over the coals longer. The first one would not crisp up and stay curled around the tin form. We timed the second one to five minutes, which meant I had to sit there longer. Allan did run off and grab a large poster board and tried to shield me from the hearth fire; however, his hands began to get hot as the board warmed up and he bailed. But the five minutes seemed to be the magic number and the second wafer was great.

I went to put the last of the batter on the heated iron and found that it had gotten very thick so I added a bit of orange flower water to thin it out. It made a perfect wafer and baked over the fire for the allotted five minutes and came off the iron and rolled on the tin cone just as it should.  Now I had to leave the room, and headed to the glassed-in porch to cool myself down. I gazed at the stars and saw the big dipper in the sky pouring its batter of star dust out among the universe, a lovely cold night. My red face began to return to a normal color.

Back in the house, I considered my experience of making wafers. The batter had made four wafers. The first one was not cooked and the others were fine. Each wafer had a bit of dark iron on them from the seasoning process. I think after the iron makes a few more wafers that will disappear. And no one would want to sit by the fire and hold a wafer iron for five minutes. An alteration to the wafer iron handle is a must.

Now the first wafer that was soft, so I went to set on the trivet to see if it would dry out and I dropped it in the fire. Allan and I tasted the second one. It was good; perhaps a bit too much sugar for our taste, however, it had a nice crunch. Allan said it would be much better filled with cream. Me, I’d dip it in dark chocolate.

Untitled-3 copy


So the first receipt gets thumbs up and so does the seasoning of the wafer iron. Stay tuned as I will again use the wafer iron with a receipt from Charles Carter’s cookery book, 1730, a very different batter than this.


“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

Vincent van Gogh


If my neighbors were looking at me on the porch they might have seen steam rising from my head.