“People don’t get excited about vanilla things much anymore.”
I completely get Bradley’s point. Vanilla is kind of that base line for the status quo. Vanilla ice cream is the start for a lot of add in options, vanilla cars mean nothing excited has been added to it yet, and as Bradley pointed out, video games can be vanilla before they do everything to it that makes it worth it to buy.
I think that is kind of sad because I have always been partial to vanilla anyways. I love vanilla ice cream over pretty much anything else and I have only used high quality vanilla extract for years – imitation vanilla has nothing on the good stuff. I figured why not focus a bit on this less used, or I suppose lesser used as a focal point ingredient that most of us use all the time!
Before I had even started cooking any garlic or parsley recipes I had decided on doing a handful of recipes focused on vanilla. It’s always a challenge to make the recipes I want to around my crazy schedule. Chandra had come over on one of my baking days and I promptly put her to work.
The very first thing I had thought of for vanilla were vanilla wafers. I loved these things as a kid. I remember eating them at my grandma’s house with all my cousin’s after lunch. In those day’s vanilla wafers were the best sort of cookies. Easy for the small kids and the older kids could have a few more. Somewhere along the way, these little cookies basically left my mind. I haven’t had them for at least ten years!
I have no idea why I haven’t made these before, they were so easy and addictive. What is it about little cookies that make it seem ok to eat a dozen of them at a time? Thank goodness they don’t have a lot of sugar. I suppose it didn’t help that I decided to pair them with frosting. So, my brain works weird. It thinks of connections between a bunch of different things and it sometimes may not make sense. Thankfully this frosting is not as far fetched as many of my thought processes.
My vanilla wafer thought made me think about banana pudding, since that is a obvious choice when talking about vanilla wafers. My thought at that point transitioned to frosting and how yummy these cookies would be with that touch of sweetness that a frosting would give them. So, my brain put two and two together and settled on a fresh banana frosting. And oh is it magical! It’s one of those frosting’s that you could literally eat the entire bowl.
The first moment Chandra and I actually married one of my vanilla wafers to her banana frosting, I honestly thought there wasn’t going to be any left to photograph to show you. Sandwiching the frosting in between two vanilla wafers made it look macaroon-esque, but the balance between the light cookies and the sweet frosting is perfect how the two compliment each other. Addictive is still the most reasonable word for the way you will stuff your face with these cookies.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- ½ cup banana, mashed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Then in the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, then add vanilla and the egg until mixed well. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.
- Chill dough for at least 10 minutes to prevent cookies from spreading too much. Roll into quarter size balls, and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with the tips of your fingers, and bake 10 to 12 minutes until slightly brown on the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
- For the frosting, mix the mashed banana with lemon juice. In a stand mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add banana and beat for another 2 minutes until well mixed. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add in brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2 minutes. Add more powdered sugar to thicken frosting or milk to loosen frosting.
- Top 1 cookie with a shmear of frosting and top with another cookie macaroon style. Repeat with all cookies.