Nilla Failures

I equate the crispy sweet taste of nilla wafers with childhood.

Toss in some banana pudding, slices of fresh banana and I am a little tot all over again, spending hot summer nights in my grandma’s kitchen listening to the whirring smack of June bugs flying against the back screen door to get into the light.

Boxes of pre-made cookies, however, can be a little on the pricey side, especially when you need to save that extra bit of cash to supply Captain Poopy-Pants in diapers (talk about expensive!).  Also… I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to what gets put in my toddler’s body.  Sure, I can’t really control the amount of lint, paper, and crayons he consumes on a weekly basis, but I can at least make sure he’s not eating hydrogenglutted polydarble-garble…. Or however it’s pronounced.  Because honestly, if I can’t pronounce it I am a little wary about eating it.

I got the great idea to make homemade nilla wafers.  I mean, it couldn’t be that difficult, right?  So I got my trusty google-fu hat on and began to scour every cooking site I knew of in search of THE PERFECT nilla wafer recipe.  Some recipes called for rather strange things:  Lard?  Paprika?  Diced green chiles?  Ok, I am kidding about the last one but seriously, I was in search of a taste of my childhood; not some fancy pants souped-up hot rod version of what should be a fairly simple cookie.  I read the comments on the recipe blogs to see what unbiased people had to say about the recipes and I finally settled on one.

So off to the kitchen my tot and I went.  Me to find the surprisingly few ingredients I needed and him in the hopes of stirring something and licking a spoon.  I mixed the dough, rolled it out into long tubes, gave my son a beater paddle and kept one for myself, stuck the cookie snake in the freezer and promptly forgot about it for a few hours.


After dinner, I pulled the cookie snake out of the freezer and began slicing off thin, quarter inch wide medallions.  I stuck em in the oven.

The first batch burned. Naturally.  IIt’susually either the first batch or the last, I can never make cookies without burning at least one batch.  So in went the second batch.

“They are…. delicious…”  Hubby said, obvious tears in his eyes.  (I took it to mean he had burnt his tongue on the way too hot, burnt cookie… boy was I wrong.)

The second batch was better, a nice light golden brown on the bottom and edges.  We waited for them to cook off a bit and I handed one each to the boys and took one for myself.  The first bite was like powder.  There was no crispy snap, no crunchy, buttery pleasure.  Its texture reminded me of Mexican wedding cakes.  The taste was… well, kinda vanilla-y.  But not much else.  They were bland, they were heavy… they would not go well with banana pudding.. or much else.

Hubby stoically ate a couple more.  My child held one in each hand and whined about them, refusing to eat them.  Even my dog wouldn’t eat them, and you should see some of the awful things that dog eats!

It turns out that the recipe was a high altitude recipe, but the blogger had failed to mention that.  I definitely won’t be trying that one again at any rate.  So, back to the boxed cookies for now (on those occasions that we can afford a pre-made treat), but my hunt for THE PERFECT nilla wafer recipe will not end so easily.