Wafer Thin and Extra Crunchy: Almond, Pistachio and Sour Cherry Wafers

I can't believe that it's taken me almost three years to try the recipe for "Almond, Pistachio and Sour Cherry Wafers" from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. I love almonds. And pistachios. And dried sour cherries. And crunchy cookies. Better late than never!

These cookies are wafers that are shaped by pressing the dough into a loaf pan, chilling it, and cutting it into very thin slices before baking. While the dough is completely straightforward, you need to plan ahead to allow for the dough to firm up in the fridge or freezer, and I do think there's some finesse required to slice the cookies evenly and as thin as possible.

To make the dough, you sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; pour in butter, dark brown sugar, and water that has been cooked until the sugar has dissolved; and mix in whole almonds, pistachios, and dried sour cherries. I decided to also add some almond extract, because almost every single time I make a recipe that includes almonds but no almond extract, I wonder afterwards if it would have been better with some extract added.

I have the British version of Sweet and the recipe instructs you to press the dough into a 900-gram loaf tin. I had no idea what size that was because nine hundred grams is about two pounds, and generally in the United States you see pans that are 8.5-inches by 4.5-inches described as "1-pound" loaf pans; 9-inch by 5-inch pans described as "1.25-pound" pans, and 10-inch by 5-inch pans described as "1.5-pound pans. It didn't occur to me at the time I was making this recipe to check the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon to check what the American version of the cookbook says about pan size -- in fact, the American version states that a 900 gram loaf pan is a 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch pan. I was actually multiplying the recipe by 2.5 and I divided the batter between two 10-inch by 5-inch loaf pans. I put the pans in the fridge overnight to chill.
The next day I used a very sharp chef's knife to cut the wafers. I got 60 wafers from each loaf, but it was quite challenging to make the wafers thin and even. The large loaf pans I used worked against me here, because the cookies were enormous. However, the extra-large cookies were also beautiful after baking. The slices were so thin that I could actually see through some of the cherries if I held a wafer up to the light.

These cookies were very firm and loudly crunchy and I loved them. I am glad that I added the almond extract, because the cinnamon flavor was pretty prominent and I think that there's a danger of the cinnamon competing with the other flavors. (My mom asked me for a copy of this recipe after I mailed my parents a batch of these wafers, and when I mentioned that I had added almond extract, she commented that she would do the same and just omit the cinnamon altogether. I'm sure I would love a cinnamon-less version too.) Of all of the wafer-type cookies I've made similar to these (that are sliced from a loaf), these are the most hearty and substantial. They were immensely satisfying.

Recipe: "Almond, Pistachio and Sour Cherry Wafers" from Sweet by Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi. 

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Louise said…
These look and sound great. I have Sweet and somehow overlooked this recipe. And, now I know to use an 8.5 x 4.5 pan, plus almond extract and no cinnamon. : )
I baked the batch I sent to my parents in a 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch pan -- they were a taller trapezoidal shape, and a little easier to slice!
Anonymous said…
I tried making these, but the mixture was way too firm, and I couldn't slice them thinly without crumbling. Can anyone suggest what may have gone wrong, and if I can do any with the rest of the mixture which I put in the freezer? .
Did you use the American version of the cookbook without ingredient weights? If so, maybe it's too much flour? The weights are 400 g plain flour, 100g unsalted butter, 240 g light brown sugar, 150 g whole almonds, 90 g pistachios, and 100 g dried sour cherries. Have you tried letting the dough sit for a bit at room temperature to let it warm up a little? That should make the dough easier to cut (but you can't let it get too warm, or the dough will become soft and squishy... but if that happens, you could also try rolling it out!).
Beeswing said…
In my 1st attempt at this recipe the dough never came together at all - just dust - so I pressed it into the pan as recommended. I'll let it chill but I am not hopeful. I may wind up dumping it all back into a bowl (will I add more fat, an egg white or water? I need to do some research)
Maybe the chilling time will allow the flour to hydrate a bit? I suspect this recipe is pretty forgiving, so if you can get it to stick together I hope it works out for you!