Homemade Vanilla Wafers

[donotprint]Even though I’m deep into this make-everything-from-scratch-with-locally-sourced-ingredients-whenever-possible phase right now, there are still certain foods that I don’t feel I have the right to acquire anywhere other than at the grocery store. Nilla wafers are a prime example. I stopped buying them probably because they contain high fructose corn syrup or some other evil ingredient du jour. I never thought about making some from scratch. I let out a little squeal of delight when I saw a recipe for them in The Commonsense Kitchen.

Is there anything better than a homemade version of a highly-processed childhood favorite? Or is it a symptom of how boring and ill-focused my life has become that I find it so thrilling?

I’m breaking a cardinal rule I set a while ago for this blog by publishing a cookie recipe. But I’m sure I’m the only one who even remembers that post. You’ll be happy know that this is in no way a healthed-up cookie. I think I’ve made peace with cookies. I say enjoy them, eat too many, and move on.[/donotprint]

Vanilla Wafers Recipe

This recipe is adapted ever so slightly from The Commonsense Kitchen. These little gems are so so much better than their grocery store counterparts.

5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
2 cups unbleached cake flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farhienhiet.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and mix well. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well.

Spoon the dough into a gallon-sized freezer bag. This is a bit easier if the corner of the bag to be filled up is resting inside a large wide-mouthed glass. Cut off the tip of one of the corners and pipe the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets at least one inch apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms begin to turn golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Serve or store in an airtight container.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Bake-time: 15 minutes

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Graham Cracker Report

I’ve been making a boat load of graham cracker recipes lately and am here to report the results of all my testing.

The winner (pictured above) is from Smitten Kitchen. Even though two of my favorite food bloggers (101 Cookbooks and Smitten Kitchen) figured it out a long time ago, it’s taken me quite a while to make a phenomenal graham cracker. Sure, I thought I had it all figured out awhile ago. But then I made these beauties and saw the light.

The only problem is that they are high in sugar, fat, and white flour. They’re really a cookie. And they are not simple to make. It took me a couple years to motivate to make these. Whenever I read the recipe and realized that I was looking at something more complicated than pie dough, it gave me serious pause. But like most things homemade they put their grocery store counterparts to shame and it was all worth it. The effort involved in making them will keep them in the realm of the occasional treat and I really don’t think I’ll be able to buy those cardboard-like grocery store graham crackers anytime soon.

I also made the graham crackers from King Arthur’s Whole Grain Baking cookbook which are a lot more like pie dough (and my previous recipe for graham crackers), flakey, sweet and nutty. They are also a lot lower in sugar and a lot higher in whole grain flours. But, at the end of the day, they just taste too different from the grocery-store graham crackers that I’m used to. I have a feeling that graham crackers used to taste a lot like this recipe. But somewhere along the line graham crackers were jacked up with way more sugar and less whole grains. Sounds like something that would have happened in the 70s.