Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wafer Cookies {Vanilla and Caramel Pistachio}

These little cookies are awesome.  And super versatile.  And did I mention awesome?  The only reason they're not sitting in my cookie jar right now is that I couldn't keep my kiddos from reaching in and grabbing one or two every couple of hours.  Oh, and then there were the dozen or so that I turned into ice cream sandwiches.  So, so, so good.  Like, the best ice cream sandwiches ever. 
The perfectly plain little vanilla wafers are my youngest son's favorite (and for my money, would be a great replacement for the store bought wafers in a cheesecake crust).  But for the rest of us, the wafers that I dressed up with some caramelized pistachios are what we're craving.  When I took those cookies and sandwiched them around a scoop of strawberry ice cream and I had a few bites of heaven.  It was a cookie epiphany.  I plan on filling up my cookie jar with these little gems over and over again.
Vanilla Wafer Cookies (Caramel Pistachio version below)
Makes 4 dozen 1 1/2 inch cookies.  From Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever.
For the printable recipe, click here.

The simple vanilla cookies are great for nibbling with a cup of tea or milk, crushed up for the world's best cookie crust, or sandwiched around a scoop of your favorite ice cream.  Strawberry ice cream is my choice for tucking in between two of the caramel pistachio cookies.  The dough for these cookies is very soft, don't panic and try not to add too much flour as it will make the cookies tough and you'll lose the light crispy texture.

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 tbs vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the egg white and oil and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.  On low speed gradually add the flour and baking soda.  Beat until the dry ingredients are just combined.

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface.  Turn the dough onto the parchment and pat it into a disk.  Lay another sheet of parchment on top of the dough.  Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick.  Slide the whole thing onto a third baking sheet and freeze until the dough is firm, 10 minutes.

Using a round 1 1/2 inch cutter, cut the dough into cookies and lay 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Place the baking sheets with the cookies in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly golden, 15-18 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through the baking.  Cool the cookies for 1 minute on the baking sheet and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

For the caramel pistachio version:

1/2 cup chopped pistachios
3 tbs sugar

In a medium skillet, heat the sugar over medium low heat until it has melted and turned a light caramel color.  Add the chopped pistachios and stir into the caramel.  Remove from the heat when the caramel is a medium caramel color.  Pour the caramel onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.  Let the caramel cool completely (about 10 minutes).  Break the hardened caramel into small pieces.  You can do this by hand or place the caramel into a zip top bag and smash gently with a rolling pin. 

Add the broken caramel pieces to the cookie dough after beating the flour in.  Follow the instructions for rolling out and cutting the cookies from there.

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