Friday, March 5, 2010

Homemade Nilla Wafers - take one

I had a bowl of the leftover vanilla bean pastry cream from my Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes 
and it tastes SO GOOD I didn't want it to go to waste. It wasn't as thick as pudding but had just a thick enough consistency that I knew the perfect treat to go with it was Nilla Wafers!!!
However being that Nilla Wafers come in a box and are full of preservatives and other things I try to stay way away from in my diet ( Sorry Nabisco!) and I love trying to find recipes of common goodies and make them homemade ( like the homemade Girl Scout Cookies that I am making next!!!) so I searched the internet knowing there just HAD to be a recipe out there for homemade Nilla Wafers. To my surprise I only came across two. So I printed out both and here is the first recipe I made from Serious Eats

About to cream the butter and sugar. I am getting more used to my spatula beater. I makes and awful squeaky sound when first mixing until the butter starts to coat the bowl. But it really works great so I don't have to stop the beater and continuously scrape down the sides of the bowl
One step calls for the seeds of a vanilla bean pod. I just love using vanilla beans whenever I can. The vanilla scent and taste is a million times better than just using an extract ( in my opinion) even over the top quality extracts that are on the market. You can always save the pod to make vanilla sugar or even homemade Kahlua!!
All purpose flour with some baking powder

Milk and vanilla extract. Hey they're not called vaNilla wafers for nothing right?
And yes I love my All Clad measuring spoons. ha ha
The butter, sugar and vanilla bean starting to come together you can see the tiny black specks of the vanilla bean seeds
And a close up. I wish blogs had smell-o-vision or scratch-and-sniff. This batter really smelled amazing.

This recipe called for piping the cookies out onto baking sheets instead of spooning out to get a more uniform shape

Piping. I use silicon bake mats instead of parchment but you can use parchment paper if you don't have the mats. I just personally find the mats to be more economical than parchment paper.

The recipe said to pipe out a circle the size of a nickel

Still piping... I used my Ateco 304 tip but any large plain round tip would work

Finally first batch ready for the oven
Ummm not exactly looking like the Nilla Wafers in a box. These were TINY and if I had kept them in my oven as long as the recipe stated - well they would have been charcoal. Lets try again but BIGGER this time

I piped out the next batch larger than a quarter size

Seriously? Flat. Not even close again. I give up.

 I at least tried to make them look nicer..with some milk for my husband

And with my leftover vanilla bean pastry cream. This was AWESOME together

So the flavor was really good but the look and texture wasn't the same at all. This was more like a little crispy vanilla butter cookie. Either too much butter or not enough flour or I should just spoon out into little balls instead of flatter discs. I am keeping this recipe on file for some altering later. I have another recipe I will try soon just to see the comparison. And if that one doesn't work out either then well I might just try to come up with something on my own!!!

Homemade Nilla Wafer Recipe
recipe courtesy of Serious Eats 

Vanilla Wafers

- makes about 8 cups of cookies (it makes a lot, but I’ve never counted!) -

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1 stick or 112g)
1/4teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (210g)
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
1 large egg white (~33g)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/3 cups AP flour (160g)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (~3g)
1. With an electric mixer, cream butter, salt, sugar and vanilla seeds until light.
2. Beat in egg white until well incorporated, scraping sides and bottom of mixing bowl to insure that all white has been incorporated.
3. Beat in extract and milk until well incorporated.
4. Whisk together flour and baking powder and add to butter mixture. Mix just to incorporate, scraping down sides and bottom of mixing bowl to insure that all flour has been incorporated.
5. Fit a piping bag with a large, plain pastry tip (I use Ateco #806, but slightly larger or smaller sizes will also work). Fill bag with about 1/3 of the batter. Holding the filled bag perpendicular to a parchment-lined baking sheet, pipe batter into nickel-sized rounds, about 1 inch apart. To make neat, well-shaped cookies, as you finish piping each round, sweep the pastry tip horizontally off to the side with a slight curving motion. (The cookies should cover 2 to 3 standard baking sheets. Batter will hold for a while after it is piped, so trays can be baked one or two at a time, as your oven allows.)
6. Bake at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned, rotating trays every 5 minutes or so for even coloring. Cool completely before storing. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for at least a week.


  1. OMG! We ALWAYS have Nilla cookies in the house! I can't wait to try fresh ones (especially since one box is up to over 3 bucks!)

    Kim @

  2. The flavor of these are awesome but the texture isn't the same. I think the recipe is close just needs some more tweaking. Mine definitely didn't look like the ones in the pics from the site I got the recipe from. Since I too love nilla wafers I'm all for trying until I get them the same or at least a lot closer!!

  3. You need to add 2 egg yolks to the butter/sugar mixture. Your recipe calls for egg whites only and that makes it more like buttery meringue. Hence the "sugar cookies" taste and texture.

  4. Wow! These are so pretty! I would love to try this recipe.

  5. Baking powder is what makes things rise in the oven. My guess is that you may need to adjust the amount in the recipe to get the desired effect.