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These easy-to-make vanilla bean cookies are flavored with vanilla bean seeds inside and out. The icing is made with vanilla bean seeds, powdered sugar and heavy cream for extra richness. A wonderful winter and Holiday season treat.
This post was originally published on Dec. 12, 2015.
I have often wondered who came up with the idea to associate vanilla with plain. It’s a really puzzling concept because there is nothing plain about vanilla seeds; their unique flavor and aroma is about as complex as it gets and is the result of a combination of several hundred different chemical compounds. And it is, of course, delicious. I mean, who doesn’t like vanilla?
Now, when I use vanilla I generally reach for the bottle of extract but to add some sophistication (in the form of visible black flecks of vanilla seeds) to these Christmas cookies here I scraped the seeds of out of an actual vanilla pod and added them to both the dough and the glaze. Both components are simple but very flavorful and overall make a very delicate and buttery, crispy vanilla bean cookie.
I made the glaze from powdered sugar, vanilla seeds and heavy cream. Cream is great for a glaze because it results in a thick, velvety texture that more or less automatically forms a bit of a pattern when you spread it on with the back of a small spoon. That’s my way of decorating a cookie artfully because I’m not really much use with a piping bag!
How to make vanilla bean cookies:
This recipe starts with 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Whisk the flour together with a pinch of salt in a bowl and set it aside. Next, grab a sharp paring knife and slice open about 1.5 inches of a vanilla bean, then scrape the vanilla seeds into a small bowl and set that aside as well.
In a mixing bowl, beat together 6 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/4 cup granulated sugar until they start to get creamy. Beat the vanilla seeds into the butter/sugar mix, then beat in the flour/salt mix. Continue to beat until the dough turns crumbly, then bring it together by hand. Form the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F., then roll out the dough and cut out the cookies. Bake the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet until they start to brown (12 – 15 minutes).
RECIPE TIP: You want to roll out the cookie dough without adding additional flour and to do that I recommend rolling it between two sheets of plastic wrap. I always do it that way and it works great!
How to make vanilla bean icing:
Scrape the seeds out of a one-inch piece of vanilla bean, then whisk the seeds together with 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream (start with 1 tablespoon, then add more cream as needed to get a spreadable but not runny consistency). Spoon the icing onto the cooled cookies.
More delicious cookie recipes:
- Spiced Linzer Cookies with Dulce de Leche
- Linzer Cookies with Ginger Cardamom Raspberry Jam
- Cardamom Meringue Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Hazelnut Cookies
Vanilla Bean Cookies
For the cookies:
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1.5 inches vanilla bean
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the icing:
- 1 inch vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-4 tablespoons heavy cream
For the cookies:
- Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean piece.
- Beat butter and sugar until well combined and creamy.
- Beat in the vanilla seeds.
- Beat in the dry ingredients.
- Bring the dough together into a ball by hand, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and cut out the cookies. (After the first round of cutting out the cookies, you can gather the scraps and roll them out again).
- Bake the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until they are lightly browned (12 – 15 minutes).
- Let the cookies cool.
For the icing:
- Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean.
- Whisk powdered sugar, vanilla seeds and heavy cream together. Start with 1 tablespoon of cream, then add more until you have a spreadable but not runny consistency.
- Spoon the icing onto the cookies and let it dry.
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