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What Are Vanilla Wafers?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Vanilla wafers are small, usually round, vanilla cookies that can be purchased from a number of manufacturers or made quite simply in a home or commercial bakery. Such cookies are often eaten by themselves, though they can also be used in other recipes such as in pudding or baked desserts. They can also be crumbled into a crumb texture and used to make a crust in much the same way that graham crackers can be used. Vanilla wafers can be made quite easily and require only flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract, though some recipes call for vanilla sugar for a more pronounced vanilla flavor.

There are numerous commercially available brands of vanilla wafers sold in different areas by different manufacturers. These cookies often have a few aspects in common, however, including their general size, shape, and coloration. Most vanilla wafers are golden or light brown in color, which stems from the use of egg yolks in making them and the coloration that such cookies take on during baking. They are usually small and round, hence the name “wafers,” and while they can be flat, they are often slightly domed or rounded on top.

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Though vanilla wafers are available from a number of commercial manufacturers, they are also quite easy to make for a home or professional baker. Different recipes for vanilla wafers can be found from numerous sources, but most recipes call for some flour, one or two eggs or egg yolks, some sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and a little salt. Most recipes suggest using unsalted butter and adding salt to better control the ingredients, though some bakers prefer to simply use salted butter. Some recipes may call for baking powder and a small amount of milk to enhance the texture of the cookies.

In addition to the vanilla extract used to flavor vanilla wafers, some recipes suggest using vanilla sugar. This can be made easily by storing sugar in an airtight container with a number of vanilla beans for about a week. This infuses the sugar with the flavor and aroma of vanilla, and it can then be used to sweeten baked goods or be added to coffee and numerous other dishes. Once the dough for the vanilla wafers is prepared, it can be spooned onto a baking sheet and flattened slightly, or rolled into a log and cut into individual cookies, and then baked and cooled before eating.

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SteamLouis
Post 3

@literally45-- I think it's time for you to be introduced to organic vanilla wafers.

You are absolutely right. Most vanilla wafers sold at the grocery are no longer what we had when we had kids. There are too many artificial and unhealthy ingredients. Although organic costs a bit more, they are far better and as good as the vanilla wafers of my childhood if not better. The real vanilla flavor really makes a huge difference.

You can even buy them in bulk at some stores or online so you can save money.

literally45
Post 2

@turquoise-- I suppose that's right. But these vanilla cookies have been called vanilla wafers for as long as they've been around. That's what we've always called them in our house and I have been eating them since I was a child.

Unfortunately, the overall quality of the product has slowly gone down over the years. It's mostly thanks to the replacement of real sugar with corn syrup and real vanilla with artificial vanilla flavors. I still eat vanilla wafers fairly often but I don't enjoy them as much as I used to.

turquoise
Post 1

Why are these treats not called "vanilla cookies?" Wouldn't that be more suitable? As far as I know, wafers are a different type of treat with many thin wafer layers.

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