Serious Eats: Recipes

Nilla Knockoffs

[Photographs: Sarah Jane Sanders]

My recipe calls for just a bit of honey, not for its taste, but for its browning properties. Honey lends baked goods a deeper golden color, which is really helpful for giving these cookies the hue that their official counterparts gain from dye. Choose a mild, generic grocery store honey that doesn't have much flavor to impart in the first place. I can't believe I just said that...

The real trick to getting a perfect Nilla Wafer texture lies in steaming the cookies (heretofore known as the Soft Batch Method). This just involves storing the cookies in an airtight container while still warm. The residual heat and moisture trapped inside softens the cookies ever so slightly, by no means to the extent of the Soft Batch, and gives them that toothsome cookie/cake texture. Of course, if you'd prefer a crisper wafer, let them cool before storing.

Note: All measurements are in weights, as volume measures can be very imprecise. I strongly recommend using a scale for all pastry projects. Serious Eats' recommended kitchen scale is the Oxo Good Grips Scale with Pull Out Display.

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