This week’s episode of the Cooking is My Sport show is entitled “But Jess…Is It Really Worth It, Though?”

Thank you for tuning in. It’s going to be a good one.

Over the past few years on the blog, I’ve shared recipes for things that many of us could, theoretically buy from elsewhere rather than make ourselves. It is easier and more convenient go to our local grocery store and buy something with little to no trouble.

I could buy quite a few of the things that I post here–if not from a grocery store, then from a bakery or something. And though even EYE I am not going to go to the trouble of making something like, puff pastry, for the most part, I really do cook or bake most of what we eat. Why do I do this?

Because I believe it’s worth it. I really do.

If you ask, “But Jess, is it REALLY worth it, though?” to bake Christmas cookies rather than just buying some in a store, I’m going to say yes. It’s worth it.

Ask “But Jess, is it REALLY worth it, though?” to bake your own cake from scratch, then go to the trouble of making your own buttercream and skip the store bought cake with that greasy, lardy crap, I’m going to say yes. It’s worth it.

Come to me with, “But Jess, is it REALLY worth it, though?” to make biscuits from scratch when they’re available at the local chicken joint, I am DEFINITELY gonna say, yes. It’s worth it.

(My biscuits are better than any others that you can buy anywhere else anyway. Including Popeyes. Yeah, I said it.)

I shared the recipe for my grandma’s banana pudding on the blog years ago. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever made–but up until recently I had always made it with store-bought vanilla wafers. I’ll be honest and admit that is the way that she makes it, and it tastes fantastic. But recently, I decided to see what it would be like if I went the extra mile and made the pudding with vanilla wafers that I made by myself. Any guesses on how it went? Anyone?


From the beginning, I had two major concerns for the recipe as a whole: the short, crisp texture of store-bought wafers and the intense vanilla flavor. If I wasn’t going to get a comparable or superior result to the store-bought version, it just wouldn’t be worth it in the long run to make them. I’m pleased to report that this recipe delivers on both. They are crisp, but the butter keeps them from being too crunchy or crumbly. They’re not too sweet, and that vanilla flavor is spot on. Even if I had no intention of making banana pudding at all, I still would’ve considered this time well spent–it’s that tasty a cookie.

Go ahead and ask me: “But Jess…is it REALLY worth it, though?”

Yes. It’s worth it.


Vanilla Wafers

Recipe Adapted from Williams Sonoma


  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


In a small bowl, combine the flour with the salt, stir together with a fork and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a hand-held one) cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you mix. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture, just until blended. (If it’s a little dry, you can add a few tablespoons of milk, one at a time, just until it holds together.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Sprinkle a rolling pin and clean work surface (like a pastry mat, wax paper) with powdered sugar.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Keep the other 3 in the fridge while you roll out the 1 portion to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a small (1 1/2 inch), round cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the rounds on the sheet pans.

Refrigerate the cookies on the pans for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle each one with white sugar, then bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the edges and bottoms are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks and let cool completely.

(Sharing at this week’s Fiesta Friday #242, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative CookΒ andΒ Jen @ Apply To Face Blog.)

18 thoughts on “Vanilla Wafers

  1. LOL… you had me chuckling with this post! I am with you on the puff pastry… definitely not worth it in my option! But these vanilla wafers, they do look quite scrumptious. I’m not the biggest fan of store bought, so I bet these would be a game changer for me!

  2. Ahhh!! These are so good – simple, delicious and homemade! Perfect for coffee or tea.😁 Thanks for bringing these along with you at Fiesta Friday party. Have an awesome weekend, Jess!

  3. I’ve made my own vanilla wafers before, and I totally agree with your assessment! And I made them for my banana pudding, lol! But you know how you said they are a game changer? I think you’d feel the same way about puff pastry.

    I do like to make the “rough puff” pastry from King Arthurs, too as a shortcut, and I have only done real puff pastry a couple of times.coz it is a pain, And I use the frozen a lot. What makes it easier is having lots of counter space and room in the fridge both of which are in short supply at my house.

    That being said, real puff or even rough puff compared to frozen is like homemade biscuits vs those from a mix or like comparing homemade pie crust to the refrigerated roll out. You don’t really know the difference until you taste the real version. it is the difference between OMG this is FANTASTIC vs Oh, this is really good!!

    I hope you’re inspired to try it sometime!! At least the rough puff. πŸ™‚ But be careful coz once you do you might not want to go back!

    1. Interesting. Do you know I don’t even really care for puff pastry? Maybe it’s because I haven’t made it myself and it’s the store-bought version that I don’t like. Thanks for giving me something to think about πŸ˜‰

      1. I probably got a little overly excited and went on a bit too much! Sorry about that! But if you think about a really good croissant… πŸ™‚

      1. Oh please! You’re the best! And I mean that. You take your baking to the level of an art form in the quality of your recipes, your skill in baking, and talent for photography!

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