Vanilla wafers are a great bake ahead dish for the coming week, and the best bit is that they go with any dessert you can name. Even if we aren’t having dessert, we often find that the odd one might sneak along to join our coffee in the morning. They are easy to make, easy to bake, and supremely delicious. What are you waiting for? Mixing bowls at the ready? Let’s go…
How to Make Vanilla Wafers
We like to use a mixer to make our vanilla wafer cookies. The key to getting them perfect is to make sure that all of the ingredients are sifted and well mixed. If you don’t have a mixer, don’t worry. You can still make these by hand… It just takes a little more time (and maybe a slightly sore arm).
We start this recipe by sifting a few dry ingredients together, namely flour and salt… Oh, and of course, a little baking powder too. You gotta get those vanilla wafers nice and fluffy.
With our mixer, we combined butter and sugar. We don’t just mix it. We cream it.
If you aren’t familiar with creaming sugar and butter, you basically end up with a super smooth and really light paste. The sugar starts to dissolve into the fat of the butter. This does two things. It makes your wafers taste sweet (obviously), and it also acts as a binding agent to stop them from being too crumbly.
To the creamed butter and sugar, we add an egg (for a bit more rising and binding) and a little milk…
Have we forgotten something?
Oh yeah, vanilla. We like to keep things simple and use vanilla extract, but if you want to go all classy, a fresh vanilla pod, split and deseeded, will work wonders for your wafers.
From there, it’s just a case of combining the ingredients together. We make little dollops of perfection on a lined baking sheet and bake for around 15 minutes until the wafers are cooked. From there, it is a waiting game as they have to cool before you eat or store them… Who are we kidding? You are going to eat them!
Tips and Tricks
- Alongside creaming the butter and the sugar, you will definitely want to sift your ingredients. This ensures that there are no lumps and clumps. Also, it makes the dry ingredients all light and airy, and you know what they say… Light and airy dry ingredients make for a light and airy wafer (well, they might not… But I do)
- Fine sugar is the order of the day. Confectioners sugar has smaller, finer grains. If you don’t have this plain old white sugar will do, but you’ll find that your wafers are ever so slightly heavier.
- This recipe contains whole milk and butter. If you are lactose intolerant or trying to steer clear of dairy, there are alternatives. Use baking spread in place of butter, and you can use a milk substitute for the milk. Oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk all work really well… Mmm, coconut and vanilla wafers, nice!
- Allow your wafers to cool before trying to serve. We leave them on the tray for 10 minutes and then tip them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Don’t open the oven door until the cooking time is up. If you cause a sudden drop in temperature, the wafers can sink, and you’ll end up with heavy biscuits.
- Try not to overbake your wafers. They may feel slightly soft when you get them out of the oven, but they firm up once they cool. You are looking for them to be slightly brown around the edges and a pale golden color in the center.
How to Store Vanilla Wafers
Storing your wafers is quick and easy. Using an air tight container you can keep your wafers fresh for up to 5 days. If you’ve made large batches for later, you can always freeze them by placing inside a zipped bag. Consume within 1 month of storing in the freezer.
Substitute For Vanilla Wafers
Sometimes you don’t have the required ingredients or store bought vanilla wafers, I’m here to give you some great substitutes. You can use the following replacements:
- If they’re being used as a cookie then sugar/butter cookies will be ideal replacements.
- Switch the vanilla (Nilla) wafers out for shortbread cookies instead
- Crumbs from graham crackers can act as a perfect substitute for making dessert crust.
- Crushing Zwieback cookies for making a crust is another option
These nilla wafers will keep for around 5 days in a ziplock bag, so they are ideal for taking as a little snack when at work. But there’s a high chance that they won’t last this long! It is an effort to stop them from being eaten when they are cooling in our house. However long they last, and whatever you serve these vanilla wafers with, I hope you enjoy them!