Homemade chocolate wafer cookies: Ditch the store-bought wafers and EASILY make your own for pie and cheesecake crusts, sandwich cookies, or icebox cakes.

diy chocolate wafer cookies

Since scratch baking is such an important aspect of what I do in my kitchen, it’s really no surprise that I should find and fall head over heels in love with a version of homemade chocolate wafer cookies that perfectly mimics the packaged and hard-to-find Nabisco Famous Wafer variety (especially if you don’t live in the US!). 

You already know my feelings on making graham crackers, Wheat Thins, and Oreos (to name a few) at home so to that end, I knew I would love make chocolate wafers at home too.

diy chocolate wafer cookies

What are Chocolate Wafer Cookies?

Chocolate wafer cookies are thin, light, crispy, and intensely chocolatey cookies. They are often crushed up into cookie crumbs to make crusts for cheesecakes and pies, or layered with fillings to make icebox cakes and ice cream sandwiches.

What can you make with chocolate wafer cookies?

Ground up in a food processor for a cheesecake’s cookie crust or the base of a peanut butter pie, you won’t be sorry you spent a few extra minutes making these slice and bake chocolate gems.

Icebox cakes and cupcakes are usually made with chocolate wafer cookies too. And man do I love icebox cakes!

For an icebox cake or icebox cupcake, you layer the chocolate wafers with a filling like whipped cream or pudding. The crispy cookies soften from the moisture in the filling and turn into thin chocolate cake-like layers. You need for these crunchy wafer cookies to soften so that you can easily cut through the cake without the cookies flopping all over the place around the knife.

You can also use chocolate wafer cookies to make ice cream sandwiches! YES!! Simply scoop some softened ice cream on top of one cookie and press another cookie on top of the ice cream.

Place the ice cream sandwiches on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze them for about 12 hours. Same as with the icebox cake, you want to let the cookies soften before you eat these ice cream sandwiches so the cookies don’t crumble all over the place.

What kind of cocoa is best for chocolate wafer cookies?

The best kind of cocoa to make chocolate wafers with is dark unsweetened cocoa. This cocoa helps to make the cookie richly flavored and it gives the cookies a deep and dark chocolate color.

Since there is a fair amount of sugar in this recipe, you want to make sure you use unsweetened cocoa and not sweetened cocoa or the cookies will turn out too sweet.

You can use either regular unsweetened cocoa or Dutch-processed. Either way, you want to use dark cocoa. I have used all of these cocoas and always have good results:

The price points for these types of cocoa vary from lowest to highest on the list but I like them all equally for these cookies.

Slice and Bake Chocolate Wafer Cookies

These cookies are surprisingly easy to make into very thin cookies. Just like the slice and bake cookies you can buy in a tube in the grocery store, you will roll your homemade cookie dough into a log and chill it.

After 2 hours, the dough will be cold enough to slice into thin rounds. You’ll place the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them off for just a couple of minutes!

Easy peasy slice and bake chocolate wafer cookies!

One of the best things about slice and bake cookies is that you can make the dough and store it in the freezer for months. Simply roll the dough into a log and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Allow the dough to thaw in the fridge overnight before you slice it.

diy chocolate wafer cookies

Homemade Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Homemade Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Yield: about 6 dozen 1 ¼-inch (diameter) by 1/8-inch (thickness) cookies
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Dough Chilling Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 42 minutes

Homemade chocolate wafer cookies are THE best cookies for chocolate pie and cheesecake crusts, sandwich cookies, and icebox cakes. Ditch the store-bought, hard-to-find version and EASILY make your own!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (2.4 ounces) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tbsp (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pulse the ingredients a few times to combine thoroughly. Dollop the butter around the dry ingredients and pulse a few more times until the butter starts to incorporate and large chunks begin to form. Mix the milk and vanilla together in a small bowl. With the mixer running, pour the milk mixture into the feeding tube in a slow and even stream until the cookie crumb mixture starts to form together and ball up on the sides of the bowl.
  2. Transfer the cookie dough to a work surface and knead it a couple of times to fully incorporate all of the ingredients. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a long and narrow log, about 1 ¼ inches to 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Depending on how large you want your wafer cookies to be will determine how thick to form the log. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to a week.
  3. Position the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Slice the dough logs into approximately ⅛-inch thick slices and lay the dough rounds on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. I formed my dough into 1 ¼-inch diameter logs and was able to fit 24 cookies on each of my baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pans from back to front and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. The cookies will be finished baking about 1 ½ minutes after the puffed-up dough deflates so try to keep an eye on them. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely – they will crisp up as they cool.

Storage: The cookies will keep for up to a week at room temperature if kept in an airtight container. Supposedly they freeze really well too but I haven’t tried it myself.

Notes

If you plan to use these cookies in place of a certain brand of chocolate wafer cookies for a chocolate cheesecake or pie crust, cut out 1 to 2 tablespoons of the suggested amount of melted butter in the crust recipe. These chocolate wafer cookies contain a fair amount of butter and too much added butter in the ground up cookies crumbs will yield an absurdly wet mass of crumbs. Trust me. 

Nine ounces of these cookies (or about ⅔ of the recipe) will yield as much as 1 package of wafer cookies contain.

adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich via Smitten Kitchen

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  • December 4, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    These look perfect- better than the “real” thing! 😉

  • December 4, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    Love the simplicity to these. Yum!

  • December 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Hooray for homemade!

  • Peggie
    December 4, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    These look great. I love a good chocolate cookie. Have you tried using Scharffen Berger or Valrhona cocoa? You might be surprised at the difference this can make.

    • December 4, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      I haven’t but only because I’ve had Hershey’s and KAF in the house to use up. I already have an overstocked pantry issue as it is. 🙂

  • December 4, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Love the idea of homemade wafer cookies. I love to use them, and sadly they’ve been getting harder and harder for me to find.

  • December 4, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    I absolutely love that first picture! My stores have stopped carrying chocolate wafers so I have to make them when I need them. It’s not a totally terrible thing 🙂

    • December 4, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Thanks Shawnda! No, it’s not a totally terrible thing but a totally dangerous one. lol

  • December 4, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Ahhh these look delicious and I love that you can use them instead of store bought! Totally bookmarked and saving this!

  • maria w in NJ
    December 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    i have made these B4 and they are amazing, and ALOT cheaper than the choc wafer ones in the box, you will not be disappointed…

  • December 4, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Fantastic! These look so dark and chocolate-y…YUM.

  • SallyB
    November 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    I’m so excited to try these! My favorite cheesecake has a chocolate wafer crust and I just realized that the popular brand of wafers they I’ve always bought at the grocery store uses partially hydrogenated oil. Yuck! I wish I had thought to start making my own chocolate wafers sooner!

    • taraliptak
      November 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      I think you’ll love these cookies for a cheesecake crust! I would suggest cutting the melted butter back that you would normally use in a cookie/graham cracker crust recipe since these cookies have a substantial amount of butter in them already. Let me know how they turn out for you! 🙂

  • Memoria
    December 24, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    I baked these cookies today to get them ready for my chocolate mousse cheesecake. I didn’t try any of them, but my mother ate one or two or three of them haha and declared them yummy! I told her not to eat too many since they are “work” cookies (i.e. their primary fate is to serve as cheesecake crust :)). I used only 12 Tbsp of butter and allowed them to cook a few minutes longer than 15 minutes so that they would be considerably hard, but not burnt. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  • chingobingo
    March 15, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    I stuffed these with homemade whipped cream and froze them. So yummy.

    • taraliptak
      March 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      Yay!! I love the photo!! I can only imagine what these cookies would be like as frozen whipped cream sandwiches!

  • Samantha
    July 31, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    I want to make a cheesecake but don’t feel like running out to the store so this is perfect. I’ll be making these now for a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.

  • Barbara
    May 19, 2018 at 6:26 AM

    Actually Chingobingo kind of answered the question I was going to ask. I pinned this recipe in hopes of using them for ice cream sandwiches. Can anybody tell me how they held up in the freezer? They have been called “not sweet” but slap some Moose Tracks between them and I think these will be great. Barb

  • Sam
    February 6, 2019 at 7:01 PM

    do you think this dough be used as a crust ( remove some milk perhaps and press into a pie plate) without first baking it into a cookie?I’m in a time crunch here! thanks!

    • Tara
      February 7, 2019 at 9:53 AM

      Hi Sam! Absolutely! I did just that with the cappuccino fudge cheesecake I made a few years ago. Here’s the recipe for that (crust recipe included): http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/12/cappuccino-fudge-cheesecake/ I made the cookie recipe as written but I do recommend cutting back on the butter in the crust when you go to make it since the cookies themselves have a good amount of butter in them already. Please come back and let me know how this works for you and what you’re making!

  • Sam(antha)
    February 7, 2019 at 2:22 PM

    It worked! I made half a batch (just the right amount for a 9″ pie pan) but with 5 tbl butter not 7, rolled it out between sheets of plastic wrap, patted it down into a greased 9″ pan, poked it thoroughly with a fork before baking, and baked at 350 for about 18 mins (tho my oven is straight from the fires from hell so I can’t give you any accuracy on temp/time) . It looked like it might stick, but did not. It’s a bit more ‘hard’ than Mr. Pie eater likes but I think more attention to rolling it out evenly would solve that as well as more time with the filling in it– we ate it right after filling– not a patient pair 🙂 It was chocolate cream pie. The only thing I’d do differently is be sure to keep the edges thick and maybe cover them so they don’t burn, however it was soft enough when I took it out that I was able to knife-off the burnt bits easily.Thanks much for the recipe, it’s a keeper and you saved a birthday! I’ll do it ‘properly ‘ next time to compare, but knowing me this will be my go-to from now on; no more expensive store bought cookies that frankly, are too crumbly anyway. Thanks again

    • Tara
      February 7, 2019 at 3:06 PM

      YAY! I’m thrilled to hear how this went for you! Also, using this dough as a crust for chocolate cream pie sounds AMAZING! Big thanks for coming back to leave a review!

  • Rachel
    March 11, 2019 at 2:00 AM

    Do you think pressing these between a tortilla press would work also? Looking to make super thin crisp cookies.

    • Tara
      March 11, 2019 at 2:31 PM

      Absolutely! This is a GREAT idea! Please let us know how this method turns out for you, Rachel!

  • Denise
    May 14, 2019 at 12:49 AM

    Is there any reason it wouldn’t work to have a larger diameter for the log off dough? I’m thinking 2″ to be the base of mini domed raspberry mousses.

    • Tara
      May 14, 2019 at 9:59 AM

      You could definitely make a 2″ log. If you need cookies that are bigger than that, I would roll the dough out flat and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Larger logs may become difficult to cut into even rounds. The log I made yielded cookies that were close to the size of Nabisco’s wafer cookies but sure, you could go bigger or smaller. You’ll need to adjust your baking time for larger/smaller cookies but not by much unless you’ll be baking really large cookies. And my gosh, I love the idea of raspberry mousses with these chocolate cookies! If you’re on Instagram, I would LOVE to see how they turn out! Please tag me @smellslikehomeblog and/or #smellslikehomeblog so I can see and share with others.

  • serene
    July 3, 2019 at 3:18 AM

    have made these before & they are wonderful, as are Alice Medrich’s recipes. Want to make them at my mom’s place in another country and she doesn’t have any food processor. Do you think it will work too with a stand mixer? Thanks….

    • Tara
      July 3, 2019 at 9:18 AM

      Hi Serene! I love that you’re planning to bring this recipe to another country! Yes, I think you can make them without a food processor and with a stand mixer instead. I would follow the instructions as they are written and pour the slowly milk-vanilla mixer into the side of the bowl with the mixer on medium speed at the end of Step 1. You may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl during Step 1 to ensure the ingredients are not sticking too much. Please come back and let us know how making this recipe without a food processor worked for you! Happy travels!

  • Deana
    July 17, 2019 at 9:01 PM

    I made these cookies after not being able to buy the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers in East Tennessee. I followed the recipe exactly (using Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa) and they are PERFECT!! Better than Nabisco!! And so much cheaper to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

    • Tara
      July 22, 2019 at 8:57 AM

      So great to hear, Deana! I agree – so much cheaper than Nabisco and so much better too! Did you use them in another recipe? If you have a quick second, would you mind leaving a star rating on this recipe? This will help others to quickly know what a great recipe it is! The star ratings show on the blog and in Pinterest and Google, and they’re completely anonymous. Thank you!!

  • Janet Miller
    October 24, 2019 at 3:25 PM

    I have used the store bought brand crispy chocolate wafers many times to make a log of the cookies and home made whipped cream…. with whipped cream between each cookie standing up, then the whole thing covered with whipped cream with chopped walnuts sprinkled over the outside. The cookies softened making it a multi-(thin)-layered chocolate cake/log.

    Can these cookies be used in the same manner? When arranged as described and in the fridge for a few hours, I’d need to get the same cake-like result.

    • Tara
      October 25, 2019 at 9:23 AM

      Hi Janet! Yes, these cookies are a homemade version of the store-bought cookie and they will definitely give you a cake-like texture for your icebox cake, which sounds wonderful by the way! I used these cookies for my peppermint icebox cupcakes (http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/12/peppermint-icebox-cupcakes/) a few years ago, I left them in the fridge overnight and the result was just as you would expect for an icebox cake. I’d love to hear how your cake turns out – please come back and let me know here! Happy baking!

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