Alton Brown’s Vanilla Wafers

11 Dec

Starting off today with a warm welcome to any NDP girls who are here as a result of today’s mail! It’s been a long time since seeing my name in print took me aback–thank you, Shawn! ūüėČ Glad you’ve come visit, and hope you’ll stick around. XOXO – Kim

I’m in this cookie competition this week. Everybody bakes and brings a cookie, we talk about why we’ve chosen that particular recipe, and then a judge picks his favorite. It’s mostly for fun and we always have a blast–great company, a flawless hostess who makes everyone smile, and a bag full o’ cookies and fun loot to take home.

I’ve been testing cookies this week. I’m pretty sure we have a winner based on my kids’ reaction to one last night. This one wasn’t that.

I’ve been intrigued by this recipe for a few months, to be honest. Vanilla wafers are so good out of the box, that homemade, I imagined, must be divine. So I hauled out my food scale and stocked up on good vanilla, and followed the directions to a T. The result?

Eh.

I almost never say this, but I’m going to stick with the kind in the yellow box. These were good, don’t get me wrong, albeit salty (I’d substitute regular salt for kosher next time). But they lacked the satisfying crunch of the commercial cookies, and were more like slightly vanilla-ey butter cookies. And butter cookies don’t need that much effort, you know?

I will say that I made vanilla sugar for the first time during this process (whisk together 2 cups of sugar with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, spread it on a cookie sheet to dry for 5 hours, store in a tightly-lidded container) and that is divine. Well worth the time and I’ll use it all up, no doubt. So that’s a plus.

If you’re trying to avoid the chemicals and such in commercial cookies, it’s worth giving this recipe a shot. But if you’re competing for year-long honors anytime soon (*grin*), these aren’t your entry.

To give them a whirl, you’ll need:

7 ounces all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 ounces vanilla sugar
1 large egg
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk

Position 1 oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and vanilla sugar in the bowl of a standmixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after 1 minute. Add the egg and incorporate on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. Add the vanilla extract and milk and blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just to incorporate. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before scooping.

Scoop the batter in teaspoon-sized balls and arrange them on 2 parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, approximately 35 cookies per pan. Use the heel of your hand to slightly flatten each ball. Bake, 2 pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans to a cooling rack to cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan

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One Response to “Alton Brown’s Vanilla Wafers”

  1. mary m December 15, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    I love vanilla wafers!!! Must try these!

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