Jan and I have been making as much as we can from scratch for so long now that we’ve gotten to the point where we sometimes forget that much of what we consider common knowledge we’ve only learned ourselves within the last five or six years. For example, did you know that many vanilla flavored prepared foods don’t actually have vanilla in them? Instead they use a substance called vanillin.
Not being something either of us wanted to put in our bodies (wood pulp, anyone?), we started making our own vanilla extract (surprisingly easy) and baking more often, rather than buying something prepared.
This is only marginally adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe (I didn’t have vanilla sugar on hand), and although this batch wasn’t much to look at, they sure were tasty. Were, as in past tense. Past tense as in they are all gone, every last one of them.
A few notes about how this differs from Alton’s original recipe:
- I was out of vanilla sugar. Although it didn’t make too much of a difference in the finished vanilla wafers, I think it would have added a little more oomph to the final flavor.
- I didn’t use a stand mixer for this batch because not everyone owns one, and I wanted to show that you could indeed make homemade vanilla wafers by hand. That said, if you have a stand mixer, by all means use it. Your vanilla wafers will be a bit lighter and have a smoother appearance if you use a mixer.
- Except for the homemade vanilla extract, we used 100% organic ingredients for this recipe.
Like I mentioned in the video, these may not look exactly like the vanilla wafers you’re used to, but they taste amazing. Hope you give them a try.
- 7 ounces all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3½ ounces sugar
- 1 large egg
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- Cream room temperature butter and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the egg and vigorously until blended.
- Add vanilla extract and milk, stir until blended.
- Add ½ of the flour mixture and stir until incorporated.
- Repeat with remainder of flour.
- Refrigerate batter for ½ hour before scooping.
- Scoop the batter and place on parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. I used a tablespoon sized scoop to make larger cookies, the original recipe calls for a teaspoon sized scoop.
- Slightly flatten each ball.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until browned.
- Cool before serving.