A Spicy Sign of Autumn


Nothing gives me warm feelings of chilly fall nights like thinking about Sweetzels Spiced Wafers.

Growing up, you don’t process food intellectually, you just become accustomed to flavors of your life. You don’t think about what’s local and what’s seasonal and what’s traditional, you’re just happy to chow down on what’s put in front of you, so you absorb the traditions of countless previous generations until it becomes second nature.  This is how the Philly region’s take on ginger snaps came to be a personal favorite, and one that is inseparably identified with the coming of autumnal chill.

Why do these simple cookies have such a hold on me?  For one thing, they’re really tasty.  The Wafers feature the perfect blend of sweetness and spice, evoking everything good about a pumpkin pie.  Even better than the flavor is the incomparable texture.  Many ginger snaps and spice cookies err too far on the side of chewiness or crispiness, but the Spiced Wafers find the perfect balance — like an al dente pasta cooked by a master chef.

And here’s the best part…if you have a glass of milk handy, you can make something unbelievable. Dunking these cookies is like playing a high-stakes game of chicken.  Too long in the drink and they’re mush — breaking up and sinking to the bottom of your cup.  Not long enough and it just feels “undercooked.”  But if you can find the sweet spot — I’m guessing somewhere around five seconds — you’ll have a melt-in-the-mouth spiced dream.

But perhaps even more than the taste, they signal a season change: their Halloween-colored box comes with a punch-out cardboard mask. I’m working through my first box of the year right now, but a recent get-together with my family got my gears turning.  How could I incorporate my new toy — the ice cream maker — with the Spiced Wafers to knock everyone’s socks off for dessert?

Read More