Nilla Wafers are good cookies, if a bit on the boring side because they are so plain, and I always enjoyed eating them when I was little. After trying the Trader Joe’s Vanilla Wafers, cookies meant to be a gourmet version of the classic wafer cookies because they are loaded with lots of vanilla bean, I knew that I wanted to make a version myself. I wanted to get a good flavor and to keep their kid-friendly appeal, as that is what drew me to the cookies initially.
I ended up making miniature vanilla wafers. They’re crispy, have a good vanilla flavor and are ridiculously addictive. Their addictivenes comes from the fact that you can literally eat them by the handful. Each cookie is no larger than a dime in diameter! I made them by scraping the cookie dough into a pastry bag with a plain tip and piping the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making each cookie the size and shape of a large chocolate chip. Over 100 cookies fit onto each baking sheet and I ended up with a total of almost 400 little cookies!
The hardest thing about getting this cookie recipe right was the coloring of the finished cookies. If baked at too high a temperature, they over-browned and ended up with the same kind of dark ring around the edge (butter and caramelized sugar) that the TJs cookies have. If baked at too low a temperature, they either didn’t crisp up properly or didn’t brown at all. The classic Nilla Wafers have a nice golden brown color to them, so to make sure the cookies turn out right, look for your cookies to be a golden color when you take them out of the oven.
Since the cookies are so small, any variation in size will mean a change in baking time. If yours end up smaller than mine, you might need to take them out a minute early. If yours are larger than mine, they might need extra time. Watch the timer on the first batch and try to keep the sizes of all your cookies as equal as possible. Also, try to use a real pastry bag to pipe out the dough instead of a plastic bag. The pastry bag is much stronger and will hold up better to piping all that thick dough.
Mini Vanilla Wafer Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder over the butter mixture and stir to combine. Scrap dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip.
Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making each cookie the size of a large chocolate chip. Cookies will spread, but only a little space is needed between cookies.
Bake at 325 F for 10 to 15 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the exact size of your cookies. Mine were a bit tall, but slightly smaller than a dime. They spread slightly to about dime-size.
Cool on baking sheets.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 385 mini cookies (32-dozen)
Makes about 385 cookies (or 285?)