Serious Chocolate: Understanding Necco Wafers

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[Flickr: oskay]

See that brown chalky disc second from the bottom? That is a chocolate Necco Wafer, aka the Kevlar vest of candies. Virtually indestructible, the Necco Wafer was sent into battle with troops during World War II because it wouldn't melt or break during transit. Packs of Neccos have traveled with Admiral Byrd to the South Pole and with Donald MacMillan to the Arctic. It can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh terrain. It is, perhaps, our nation's greatest militarized fat free wafer.

You either love 'em or think they taste like a chalky hot mess.

Which is why, I think, there are two distinct thoughts regarding Necco Wafers: You either love 'em or think they taste like a chalky hot mess. I used to be firmly in the latter camp. After all, according to company history, the treats have been used as communion wafers, poker chips, and even as bulls-eyes at a target range.

To me, that didn't sound appealing.

Until recently. I was making chocolate cupcakes and wanted to give them a tiny crunch. Not too much—but enough to provide a slightly different texture. So I smashed some Chocolate Neccos between two pieces of wax paper (with a hammer) and then stirred them into the batter before baking. I knew they wouldn't melt in the oven and I wanted to see what would happen.

The answer was amazing. The wafers provided just a tad of texture without being overwhelming and the chocolate taste melded perfectly with the cake batter. To top it off, I smashed some more Neccos and stirred them into the icing. Yum.

Even those in the anti-Necco camp might be surprised by this approach. Has anyone else tried it before? Or have another Necco tip?

About the author: Melody Kramer is a chocoholic living in Philadelphia. She writes for a variety of publications in order to fuel her sweet tooth.

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