Friday, June 28, 2013

DIY ~ Nilla (Real Vanilla) Wafers

Follow Me on Pinterest
Writing this blog brings me great joy, but there is also a more serious side . . .

I am responsible for the information I pass on to you! I am also responsible for the ingredients I use in the recipes I share. That being the case, I am taking time to research products and ingredients to keep myself knowledgeable and you aware of ingredients to avoid when purchasing foods. You and your family deserve the very best when it comes to nutrition and health!

Who doesn't remember dunking Nilla Wafers, 1 after another . . . in ice cold milk?

I love popping them in my mouth! They seem like such wholesome little cookies, until you read through the ingredients . . . Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Sugar, Soybean Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Whey (From Milk), Eggs, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate), Emulsifiers (Mono- And Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin). Contains: Wheat, Milk, Egg, Soy.

In the above ingredients, beet sugar, soy oil, soy lecithin, whey and cottonseed oil are all genetically modified. All the underlined ingredients do not naturally occur, but were created in a lab! They are not "real" food!

I don't know about you, but I'm trying my darnedest to feed my family REAL food. It's upsetting to find that name brands we grew up with, can't be trusted anymore! These "lab" ingredients cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, asthma, infertility, and a boat load of other health problems!

Mother Earth has a short article on How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods.

I like to have fun with my blog, and not take myself too seriously. These are perilous times we are living in, and we must be proactive. Yes, it's a whole lot easier to buy prepackaged cookies, crackers, breads . . . etcetera, etcetera. If you have limitless funds you could buy only organic, but what would be the fun in that?

The next 6 months, I'm challenging myself to find tasty, homemade versions of the boxed foods I so readily toss into my shopping cart.

Here's my list ~ Nabisco Club Crackers, Nabisco Premium Saltines , Pepperidge Farm Parmesan Goldfish Crackers, Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers, and Ortega Tostadas. These are the prepackaged foods I still rely on the grocery store to supply.

I want to become independent and free from GMO, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, chemical additives and preservatives offered in the store-bought versions of my ("GO-TO" ~ turned ~ "RUN FROM" boxed foods.

DIY ~ NILLA (Real Vanilla) WAFERS

1 stick butter, room temperature

3/4 cup pure cane sugar

1 large egg white, save yolk for scrambled eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Milk, no BHT (I buy whole organic Shamrock)

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder, I use non-aluminum Rumford or Argo (I buy it in a large container at Sam's Club)

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Prepare 2 parchment lined baking sheets.
  • In a large mixing bowl: Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy
  • Add egg white and vanilla, mix; scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  • In a medium bowl: Add flour and baking powder; whisk well.
  • Add dry ingredients to butter mixture; mix just until incorporated; scraping sides down.
  • Add 1/3 of cookie dough to 1, 2, or 3. ~ 1.) a pastry bag (it's easier to work with in thirds) with a 1/2-inch across hole ~ 2.) use a large round decorating tip ~ 3.) or cut a 1/2-inch round hole in the corner of a quart freezer bag.
  • Squeeze out dough to the size of between a nickel and a quarter size circle to make each cookie, ending by pushing down gently (dotting the "i") in the center of each cookie.
  • Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake cookies for 10 minutes; flip cookies over to brown the tops, baking an additional 5 minutes.
  • Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Piping cookies.

I used a pastry bag without a tip and the piping went quickly.

First batch of cookies, piped and ready for the oven!

Form cookies between the size of a nickel and quarter.

Bake cookies 10 minutes . . . Flip them over so the tops are on the bottom (see above photo); bake an additional 5 minutes.
These little Nilla Wafers are packed with flavorful goodness . . . crispy, buttery, vanillalicious!

The perfect little cookie . . . free of GMOs, hydrolized oils, and artificial flavorings. Each recipe make 100+ cookies. I'd double this recipe if our boys were still at home, they are totally addictive! And, don't forget the ice cold milk!

Remember, we're all in this together! Taking one baby step at a time, towards healthier eating . . . Over at Julie's!!!

P.S. ~ If you have a prepackaged food you would like to find a homemade alternative for, please leave me a note in the comment section, and I'll work on an alternative.

Your Nilla Wafers can be made larger, like these . . . I made a double batch, which gave me 60 . . . Some to "adult size" to dunk in milk . . . Some to crush for my Uptown Banana Pudding Cheesecake Crust!



  1. Hi Julie - I was directed to your site for your crock-pot yogurt - which I love!! I also love your "back to the basics" ideas - which is where I'm heading. Trying hard to start from scratch with many of the convenience foods out there. I have a recently diagnosed ASD child (and 6 other kids), and I just feel eating healthy & knowing what we eat is so important for my whole family. A little more work, but actually fun, healthy, and even empowering! I'm learning lots about all the nasty things added to our food, and all I can say is GROSS! I'm so excited to try these cookies! I love that I will know everything that is in them. We are doing our best to eat healthy - but we still like our (more healthy) treats too! Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynn - Thank you for your kind comments! Sounds like you have a full house, and I thought feeding 3 boys and their dad was a lot! Actually, I love cooking and baking for my family, and I appreciate hardy eaters.

      I googled ASD, as this was something I'm not familiar with, and came up with a type of autism or heart issues . . . A healthy diet is essential for all of us!

      You are so right about getting back to basics being empowering! My husband, Will has been doing a lot of traveling and says he feels more at home by taking my homemade deodorant, remineralizing toothpaste, and shaving soap with him. It's like a tangible part of me can go with him, and I like that!

      I have lots of "from scratch" recipes for you to try, but you'll probably need to double the recipes for your crew! We're making my recipe for "As Good as Haagen Dazs Ice Cream" as I write this.


    2. Hi Julie - Yes, ASD - Autism Spectrum Disorder. Asperger's specifically. Six of my seven are boys so it is quite a crew, although the three oldest are out of high school (as of this year) - the dinner table isn't always as full as it used to be :). You do have several recipes I'm planning to try. Thanks for the ideas and encouragement! Blessings!

  2. yay for REAL food! thanks for the great recipes

  3. These are hands down so much better than the box ones! While these little cookies look cute and are perfect for little hands, you can make them bigger for dunking in milk!

    Thanks for stopping by!


Your comments and questions are welcomed . . .