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Homemade Vanilla Wafers


Vanilla Wafers. I am sure most of us are familiar with these cookies. I think they are called Nilla Wafers in the shops, but basically what they are is round crisp vanilla flavoured cookies. They are an integral component of Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding.

This is a pudding in which these crisp vanilla cookies are layered in a dish with vanilla pudding and sliced ripe banana.  Topped with whipped cream, it is a favourite dessert for many people! Me included. 
 
When I lived in the UK Vanilla Wafers were very hard to come by.  They just didn't have any. They did not exist. If you wanted them you had to make your own homemade Vanilla Wafers. 

Homemade Vanilla Wafers 
I think my most important job when I cooked at the Manor was to keep the Mrs happy. Actually in retrospect . . . I think that was everyone's job.  If the Mrs wasn't happy . . . wasn't nobody happy!!  

She was always on a diet and so my job was to prepare meals that were relatively low in calories as she was always counting them.  And she wanted a calorie count figured out for every single meal. 

She reckoned that she could not ingest any more than about 5 or 6 hundred calories a day. So not good, and it didn't matter how much I tried to explain the mechanics of nutrition to her, her mind was made up. She would weigh herself about 6 times a day and if it went up even an ounce, she freaked out.

Homemade Vanilla Wafers 
It was very bizarre behaviour to say the least.  But we are all different, n'est ce pas?  That is what makes life interesting. 

One thing she liked me to make for her were these Homemade Vanilla Wafers.  It was a recipe from out of one of her Cooking Light Cookbooks. She liked to call them her diet cookies.

I wish I had a dollar for every one of these I baked for her. I would be a very wealthy woman by now.  She might even have to come work for me! haha 

I used to have to bake these for her several times a week. As soon as they were gone, she requested more, and whenever she took one of her many trips to America, a shoebox of a double recipe of them went with her in her luggage. 


Homemade Vanilla Wafers 

One time I accidentally put too much butter in them. She said they were the best Vanilla Wafers anyone had ever baked for her and that was that. From then on I had to make them exactly like that. I didn't dare tell her the reason they were so good was because there was extra butter in them.    

Truth be told though . . . even if they had had the required amount of butter in them, they wouldn't have been diet cookies.  Somehow I think the diet/low fat properties of any type of cookie kind of go down if you eat almost the whole three dozen in one day.

Ahem . . . just sayin' is all!  Don't shoot the messenger! 

Homemade Vanilla Wafers 
There were many, many nights I found myself baking these for her at 3 o'clock in the morning in readiness for her leaving on one of her frequent trips. I would be totally exhausted, so it is no wonder that I accidentally got too much butter into them one time.

She had a thing about flying. She was deathly afraid of flying. Many people are like that, its not that odd.  In order for her to be able to fly however, she would stay up all night packing the night before she left.  Misery love company however, and she required someone to be with her, to talk to, to help her pack. The job of helping her fell to me.

Homemade Vanilla Wafers 
This was for two reasons really. The first was that the "cook" had always done this with her. I was the "cook." The second was that I actually lived in a cottage on the Estate and nobody else that worked there was "trapped" like I was.  When the house you live in is tied to your job, you end up doing all sorts of things that nobody else would do, because you don't want to lose the roof over your head.

In any case I kind of enjoyed those packing nights in an odd sort of way. They made for a really long day of work however.  I would have worked all day from 8:30 am and then I would be up all night until 6 or 6:30 the next morning, so very close to 24 hours. 

I had many things to do during that night.  I would have to decant some of her expensive perfumes into smaller travel sized bottles.  I can remember my horror one night when I accidentally decanted the wrong one into the wrong bottle and had to tell her what I had done. She "was not amused." 

Aside from that, I would need to do her makeup bag, pack all her vitamins into small bags (one for each day she was going to be away), stuff all her shoes and put them into cloth bags.  Put all of her jewelry into jewelry bags.  Stuff the sleeves of her clothing with tissue and pop them into dry cleaning bags, etc.

Homemade Vanilla Wafers 

This was on top of watching her try on a variety of outfits in an attempt to decide what she was going to wear to whatever function she would be attending.  She wore only Armani, Vera Wang, Chanel, etc. Very expensive clothing.  

As she tried things on she would drop them onto the floor when she was done. It fell to me to take them down to the laundry room and press them back into perfection before packing them into her cases or returning them to her closet.

As you can imagine when you have been up as long as I had been,  it was kind of scary to be pressing and steaming these expensive clothes with a hot iron. I can remember being very afraid that I would ruin one. She really was taking a chance in letting me do that. (You can't make this stuff up!)

But it was really one of the more interesting aspects of my job (the packing bit).  I never would have had such intimate contact with so many very expensive items in my life otherwise.  

I can tell you one thing it did, however.  It taught me to never have anything in my life that it would destroy me to lose or ruin.  Stuff is only stuff at the end of the day and ain't none of us taking any of it with us when we go!

Homemade Vanilla Wafers

I suddenly found myself with a hankering for these the other day.  I had not baked them since I finished working at the Manor, some 11 years ago now!  I knew this recipe off by heart, having baked them so many times in the past. 

They were still moreishly good.  Crisp and buttery and addictive! We enjoyed some of them layered in glass dishes with some sliced banana and pudding, with whipped cream on top, as you do. 

I wonder all these years later if she has ever figured out why she could never take off those last two pounds she was fighting to lose.  Well, I'm not telling her and I suggest you don't either!!!

I do suggest, however, that you bake these delicious, buttery, crisp and wonderful Vanilla Cookies!

 

Vanilla Wafers

Vanilla Wafers

Yield: 3 dozen
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 15 Mintotal time: 25 Min
These were supposed to be light, but the mistaken addition of extra butter made them even better, so they are not so diet, diet cookies. These are crisp and buttery and oh so moreishly good.

Ingredients

  • low fat cooking spray
  • flour to dust
  • 1/2 cup (95g) of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (37g) of corn flour
  • 3 TBS melted butter
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (105g) of plain all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Spray two baking sheets with some low fat cooking spray. Dust with flour and then set aside. (Don't skip this step, it's integral to the recipe.)
  2. Whisk the sugar, cornflour, melted butter, vanilla and egg together in a bowl until well blended. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir this into the wet mixture until smooth.
  3. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving some room for spreading. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove baked cookies from the pan immediately and allow to cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.
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Homemade Vanilla Wafers

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Marie Rayner
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3 comments:

  1. I remember reading your blog when you cooked at the big house, I know you worked hard. It truly was another world isn’t it. She was lucky to have you. Cooking in that beautiful home ,, we just never see the hard side of things, the beauty of it all masked it I think. These are a lovely little cookie and I know a fella that will love them. I’ve never made homemade vanilla wafers but I will try them today! I may even go the extra mile and make the pudding! Thanks Marie!

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    Replies
    1. It certainly was an experience for sure Laurie. I know you can identify with it having cooked for rich people yourself for a number of years. They are a completely alien being in comparison to us ordinary folk! Wouldn't trade my life for theirs in a second! I hope you enjoy the cookies! You are welcome! xoxo

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  2. Your Vanilla Wafers are perfection. I made a double batch and froze half for company coming from out of state. The texture and flavor are still perfect!

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