Recipes

Cream Wafers – 1963

Okay, so this week’s recipe is a little bit of a cheat, in multiple ways, because A.) this is an old repost from the original Time Capsule Cooking blog, and B.) I’d already eaten this recipe many times over when I tried it. You see, at the time I was coming off of a particularly heinous disaster (crispy oatmeal slices that weren’t particularly crispy, but were particularly full of salt) so I wasn’t feeling too experimental at the time. It’s a pick-me-up recipe for cookies that my aunt used every year at Christmas. I’d never tried them myself, and the temptation of personal nostalgia was a little too much to pass up.

That introduction completed, here’s my attempt at Cream Wafers.

I do not own the cookbook this came out of, but evidently it was in Betty Crocker’s Cookie book. All of the recipe’s I’m seeing online are the same, so I’m using the one from the official website.

ingredients on a counter, including flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, and cream.

The ingredients are pretty simple for this recipe:

For the wafers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • Granulated sugar  

 For the filling:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, lemon extract or peppermint extract
  • Food color, if desired

Okay, pausing for a second. No sugar in the wafers at all? I mean, the granulated sugar doesn’t go into the wafers as far as I remember. But whipping cream? Is that the reason for the name? Cause all the names these suckers go by involves cream: Cream Wafers, Swedish Creams… IDK

Well, whatever, to start with we mix the flour, butter, and cream with a spoon… a spoon? Are you kidding me? Also, looking back on it, I may have used more than 1/3 c. milk… oh well, it worked out okay.

a mixing bowl of flour and butter, with a measuring cup of cream to the side.

And yeah, mixing that was about as annoying as you might think. My arm feels like lead and that was using really soft butter. And this is already reminding me a lot more of a pie crust than any sort of cookies I’ve ever made. After the mixing the dough goes in the refrigerator for an hour or so, until firm.

a ball of dough in a large mixing bowl

When it’s ready to go we roll it out (well, a third of it out, the rest of it stays in the fridge until we’re ready for it) on a lightly floured surface. 1/8 of an inch thick. With a small cookie cutter, recipe says 1 ½ inch, we cut out the cookies.

Dough rolled out thinly on a counter, with five circles cut out of the left side.

By the way, that was a difficult size to find, at least in my small town. Didn’t actually have any luck so I used a plastic shot glass I found in the cooking section instead. Worked out pretty good.

And yeah, found out pretty quick that this is a dough that definitely needs to be chilled. Makes it so much easier to handle, especially in the next step.

Okay, so we pour some sugar onto a plate or wax paper or whatever and coat the cut-out shapes, flipping to get both sides.

Thinly rolled dough with circles cut out, behind a saucer of sugar with one circle of dough.

Place them on a cookie sheet (and maybe sprinkle a little bit more sugar over the tops to make them nice and crystally and pretty), pierce about four times with a fork, and bake for 7-9 minutes.

Small cut out circles of dough arranged cookie sheet.

Evidently, unlike every single other cookie recipe I’ve ever used, space isn’t an issue with these suckers, cause they don’t spread but puff straight up. They’re also delicate as all heck. The directions say to just bake long enough to set up, instead of letting them brown (once again unlike any other cookies I’ve ever seen) and I lost probably half of one of those dough thirds because I either let them brown or left them sitting on the baking sheet for too long. They fell apart trying to get them moved from the baking sheet to the cooling rack, which wasn’t an issue when they weren’t browned… well, not as much of an issue. As I said, these suckers are delicate. Good for eating, not as much so for handling.

Getting them off the baking sheet after just a few minutes and then letting them cool for a good long time helped, at least a bit, when it came to the icing step.

baked wafers resting on a cooling rack. They are very light in color.

Speaking of, the icing can be made while waiting. The filling isn’t that hard, essentially just butter cream, with the sugar, butter, flavoring of choice (I did vanilla for this recipe), and food coloring mixed together until it’s smooth. If the filling’s too thick then stirring a bit of water in helps.

Okay, once we’re ready to ice the wafers we take… ½ of a teaspoon? Yeah, no. I ended up making double the icing called for. After making this batch of cookies I managed to find my aunt’s copy of the recipe and it look’s like everything’s the same except for… yup, double the icing ingredients. Looks like she had the same reaction I did. ½ teaspoon just wasn’t enough, especially if you wanted to have the icing show at the edges.

Anyway, we take however much icing we want and spread it on one of the wafers…

one wafer, with teal frosting on top.

then take another and, trying not to break either cookies, press it lightly into the frosting. 

one sandwiched cream wafer, with teal icing in the middle.

The Verdict:
Well, these things are definitely really cute, except for the wafers themselves looking kind of underdone. I’m used to golden brown cookies so pale ones just look kind of strange. The taste is okay, but most of that’s in the icing. If you don’t like icing then this isn’t the cookie for you. Where this cookie shines, and what kind of makes it worth it, is the texture. It’s almost more like a pastry crust than a cookie, and the way it puffs up is cool.

a cross-section of a cream wafer, showing the flaky layering.

They’re really delicate, with a light texture, and that slight bit of sugar crystal on the outside.

Overall, I’m giving it a 3/4. Not for everyone, especially if you’re not big on icing, cause that’s where most of the flavor comes from, and making them can be a bit of a pain at times; but I can’t help but love these suckers. 

Cream Wafers

  • Servings: 60
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Rating: ★★★ out of 4
  • Print
from Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book, 1963

Ingredients

For the wafers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • Granulated sugar  

 For the filling:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, lemon extract or peppermint extract
  • Food color, if desired

Directions

Mix the flour, one cup of the butter, and the heavy whipping cream, with a spoon in a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or until the dough is firm.

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Roll out the dough, one-third at a time at 1/8th inch thickness, on a floured surface, keeping the rest of the dough in the fridge until time to work with it. Cut into desired shapes with a small (1 1/2 inch) cookie cutter. Cover a piece of waxed paper with sugar and transfer the cutouts to the covered paper with an egg-turner. Turn to coat both sides and prick with a fork about four times.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until set but not brown. Remove from the cookie sheet and let cool for an hour.

Mix the filling ingredients until smooth. Add drops of water is necessary. Spread about a 1/2 teaspoon to create sandwich cookies.

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