A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘alton brown’

Nilla Wafers from Scratch

In Food, Recipes on November 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm

homemade nilla wafers

A couple weeks ago, my friend Kim shared her SPECTACULAR recipe for banana pudding. The recipe calls for Nilla Wafers—those classic cookies you’ll find in no-bake icebox cakes and banana cream pies or simply dipped in milk as a nostalgic treat. Since I’m on a personal challenge this month to reduce what I’m feeding my kids that’s from a box, I was curious to see how hard it was to make my own vanilla wafers. I found this recipe from Alton Brown, and it’s a snap. His recipe calls for vanilla sugar—click here for my quick vanilla sugar method—or if you don’t have any vanilla sugar on hand, use granulated sugar and slightly increase amount of vanilla extract used below. The cookies take about 10 minutes to prep, plus an additional 15 minutes to bake and are totally worth it.

Alton Brown’s Vanilla Wafers

7 ounces all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 ounces vanilla sugar
1 large egg
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk

Position 1 oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and vanilla sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after 1 minute. Add the egg and incorporate on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. Add the vanilla extract and milk and blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just to incorporate. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before scooping.

nilla wafer batter

Scoop the batter in teaspoon-sized balls and arrange them on 2 parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, approximately 35 cookies per pan.

homemade nilla wafers

Use the heel of your hand to slightly flatten each ball. Bake, 2 pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans to a cooling rack to cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.

I’m In the Mood for Love

In Food on March 7, 2009 at 9:55 am


This past Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be really romantic to sign up my husband and me for a knife skills class. After all, nothing says “till death do us part” quite like a 10-inch chef’s knife. My knife obsession is no secret, and our kitchen features two knife drawers each holding about 10—one for Germans and the other for Japanese, with the Germans in the west drawer and the Japanese in the east. I love reaching into a drawer on a whim, and picking up an old friend that feels right for the task. Maybe I want to use my beloved Michel Bras all-purpose knife with a titanium-coated blade to slice mushrooms. Or my trusty Wüsthof chef’s knife to dice a pork butt. Or slice carpaccio paper thin with a spectacularly sharp FKW 9 MAC knife. Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the knives in each of the drawers.


There will be tons more posts on knives in future, believe me, but back to our knife skills class, which was held last night at Sur la Table at The Farmers Market. While I have ZERO formal culinary training, I have long been a fan of the instructor’s preferred “pinch grip” (which Alton Brown showed me years ago when we were judging a wild game competition together in Portland, Oregon) and the “claw” to keep your fingernails intact, but I learned a few new tricks including how to do a fine julienne, and an awesome new way to chop onions. However, allow me to save you the $79 (come on over, and we’ll julienne for free!) and any guilt over your love affair with sharp blades and lots of ’em. Our instructor systematically dissed just about every knife in my albeit excessive collection, telling us that all we need is a chef’s knife and maybe a paring knife (hot tip though: her favorite paring knife is one sold at Smart & Final for a song). I’m sure this is true—you really can do anything with a chef’s knife from clobbering a whole chicken to smashing and mincing garlic, but where’s the romance?