Homemade Vanilla Wafers

Cookie, Desserts / Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


Remember this morning when we were talking about Banana Pudding Ice Cream?

I totally forgot to mention the homemade vanilla wafers.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone who mentioned how she’d never dream of putting Nilla® Wafers in her banana pudding. She always made her own. I’d never given them much thought, but she was so passionate about it, I had to taste the difference.

It’s a good thing she wasn’t talking about meth.

There’s nothing difficult about making your own vanilla wafers. You probably have the ingredients: butter, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla and flour. Just roll the dough into logs, chill, slice and bake. When the cookies come out of the oven, they’ll still be light on top, but their edges and bottoms will be golden, which is why, in the year 2035, they’ll be known as “Goldbottoms.”

So, how do they taste?

They remind me of miniature sugar cookies. Fresh and sweet, with nothing to distract you from that true vanilla flavor. The cookies are so dense that the pieces inside my Banana Pudding Ice Cream are still crunchy days after making it, which is a nice surprise.

Why did I test them in an ice cream instead of the real deal? Because when it comes to old-fashioned comfort foods, most people want what they’ve always had, and some, like my father, live for the texture of a Nilla® Wafer that’s gone soft in a sea of banana pudding. That’s why there will always be a place in my mother’s pantry for a box of Nilla® Wafers.

But, seriously, these are better.

Vanilla Wafers

Adapted from “Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking”

Makes about 65 cookies

  • 1 cup (8 ounces/250 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces/125 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 ounces/315 grams) all-purpose flour
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and beat on low speed until blended. Add the flour, and mix until incorporated and a smooth dough forms.
  2. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll each portion into a log 7 inches long and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  3. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut each unwrapped log crosswise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the edges and bottoms are golden, 12-15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Note: You can tightly wrap the logs and freeze them for up to 2 months. Thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight.

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35 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Wafers

  1. I'm pretty certain my Dad is right there with your Dad. He wants it like his Mama made it!

  2. I made vanilla wafers many many years ago when I was still dating my now husband. I wrapped up a few and sent some over to his parents. I don't know if they ever got any, because the dog got to them first and lived them!

    Mine were drop cookies and were truly wafer like and very vanila-y. Delish. These sound like they'd be awesome in pudding or in your ice cream!

  3. I love it when things are homemade from start to finish. These look so simple and delicious, and while I like mushy wafers in my pudding, I think the crunchiness would be a nice contrast to the silky pudding. Also, I think I would just stack on them all day :) Yum!

  4. sounds like my ranting about those funky little wafers in the box motivated you! let me know if i can be of anymore help. it was fun talking with you and i hope you visit again.

  5. Muuuuwah, again! I totally bookmarked your banana pudding but I kept trying to find homemade vanilla wafers. I hate to say it, but I shun those too. Now, I have all the components I need. I can hardly wait to make this with fresh whipped cream. Thank you!

  6. My kids LOVE these and it's good to know that on those days when the dog steals and eats the whole box that I can just easily whip up some more of them!!! In addition, I have found that I can save so much money at the grocery store by making a lot of these things on my own! Thanks for sharing I will be trying this soon!

  7. Recipes taste so much better when you make them yourself from start to finish. Your vanilla wafers look so much better than any I've seen from a box!

  8. i made 2 batches this weekend for the holiday. i had a mini tart cheesecake recipe that i was planning on making that called for some vanilla wafers. the first batch i made them too small, so they ended up in the cookie jar. when we had our friends and family over to watch the fireworks, that jar was raided all night! everyone couldn't get enough of them. even my mom-in-law was impressed and she's the cookie baker of the family!

  9. Oh, vanilla wafers are one of my secret obsessions…but you probably figured that out and knew it wasn't going to be Oreos or Chocolate Crispy Wafters, etc., right? Must make these soon…good thing you aren't pushing meth…vanilla wafers will get me in a whole lot less trouble.

  10. These look incredible. My 1 year old son loves them…how delightful to be able to make them from scratch. Thanks for sharing!

    1. These are such a good snack! I love being able to make them at home. They come together really quickly, and you almost always have these ingredients.

  11. I totally believe they are better. I just made homemade graham crackers (haven't blogged them yet, because I haven't gotten a picture I liked), and OMG. Amazing. Maybe I'll hafta try these cookies!

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