Crispy, crunchy, and packed with vanilla flavor, these homemade gluten-free vanilla wafers are just as good as the originals!
When you go gluten-free, there are a lot of foods you really, really miss. Some are quite obvious and missed on an almost-daily basis — fresh bread, chewy glutenous pasta, flaky croissants and cinnamon rolls, chinese takeout — and others, the less obvious ones, aren’t missed for 5 years and then WHAM. Serious craving and no gluten-free fix in sight.
Example: Vanilla wafers.
10 years ago, if you would have told me that I’d be pouting and stomping my feet over a serious hankering for ‘Nilla Wafers and no “cure” for said craving, I probably would have laughed hysterically and said “you so fun-nay.” But real life: so much self-pity.
Now, I’m sure that some of you are thinking, “Really Leah? Vanilla wafers? Get your life together, girlfriend. There are bigger problems in this world and bigger gluten-free fish to fry than VANILLA WAFERS.”
I totally get it, and I’d usually be right there with ya.
Buuuuut I challenge you to sit facing a big ol’ bowl of vanilla wafer-less banana pudding and still call me overly dramatic for throwing a bit of a Veruca Salt “I want it now” hissy fit/pity party. (Yup, that mayyyyyy have happened. Just keeping it real, friends.)
Obviously the vanilla wafer situation HAD to be remedied, especially since my husband has been on a serious puddin’ kick as of late ( ← TORTURE without gluten-free vanilla wafers!). So, after I picked myself up and dried my pity party tears, I vowed to not stop baking until I perfected the gluten-free vanilla wafer.
Annnnnnd I am proud to report that, after a little trial and error, vanilla wafers are no longer a thing of the past for us gluten-free folks!!!!!!
The key to these cookies is, of course, VANILLA.
The ONLY way to go when making these is using the real stuff and the highest quality you can get your hands on (and gluten-free, obviously!). These golden beauties ain’t got no time for that imitation junk. And yes, this recipe calls for a whole Tablespoon of that beautiful brown elixir. They are vanilla wafers, after all.
The other “secret” ingredient? Almond meal! As you may remember, a little almond meal is what gave my gluten-free graham crackers (!!❤!!) that perfect crunch and crumble, and, being that vanilla wafers also need a somewhat-similar crunch factor, it works amazingly here as well. PLUS it delivers the most adorable little flecks* in the cookies.
(*For a perfectionist looking for a TRUE copy-cat recipe in taste AND look, I’d suggest going with a blanched almond meal, but for those of you that LOVE a little extra flare anywhere you can get it, regular almond meal is the only way to go.)
With all this talk of pudding + vanilla wafers, I feel like I must address onnnnnnne little thing.
Old school banana pudding recipes and other layered pudding+wafer desserts usually call for assembly followed by a few hours of chilling time. Well, as you gluten-free folks know, gluten-free cookies tend to get a little soggier and fall apart a little quicker than your standard gluten-full cookie. Because of this, I would suggest chilling the pudding separately, and then assembling the dessert.
All of that being said, don’t you worry, all of those glorious pudding desserts are going to be back in your life and BETTER THAN EVER. Just keep the gluten-free factor in mind 😉
Crispy, crunchy, gluten-free vanilla-y cookie goodness. Mmmmm. Mmm.
May your pudding never be waferless again (← I’ll raise a spoon to that!)
- ½ cup butter
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 Teaspoon milk
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a small bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla and milk, and beat to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly until combined.
- Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
- Scoop the dough into small balls, about 1 teaspoon each, and place on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. With the palm of your hand, gently flatten the dough ball a bit.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown all over.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.