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The History of Nilla Wafers

By the middle of the 19th century, vanilla wafers were already a popular treat in America and could be purchased from most bakeries. The original recipe for Nilla Wafers was created by Gustav A. Mayer, a confectioner from New York. Mayer sold his recipe to the National Biscuit Company soon after it was formed through several mergers of smaller bakeries. The company shortened its name to Nabisco and began selling “Nabisco Vanilla Wafers” in 1898. In the 1940s, Nabisco began printing a recipe for banana pudding on their boxes of Nabisco Vanilla Wafers. It became extremely popular in the American South, which is how the cookies became synonymous with what we now think of as Southern banana pudding (even though the original recipe came from New England). In 1967, Nabisco rebranded the cookies as Nilla Wafers — the name we know and love today. While there are many brands of vanilla-flavored wafers out there, Nabisco’s Nilla Wafers have stood the test of time and remain one of the most popular brands on shelves today.

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