Monday, January 21, 2013

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies


It's back.  Secret Recipe Club that is.  We took a break in December since the holidays are such a busy time for most.  It feels like we've been on hiatus for more than a month though.  I'm glad we're back in business!

This month I was assigned Danielle's blog, Hugs & Cookies XOXO.  WOW.  Hugs & Cookies is teeming with uber decadent desserts.  And I mean decadent!  Most of her sweets involve several layers of flavor and texture...by combining cookies, brownies and caramel or chocolate sauces/ glazes with various types of candy worked all into ONE serious treat.  To see what I mean, check out these Oreo cheesecake bars on a chocolate chip cookie crust topped with chocolate glaze, raspberry M&M's and more Oreos.  Or these quadruple layer chocolate cheesecake Kit Kat bars--now that's some chocolate love.  Danielle's creativity is evident in the seemingly endless combinations of sweet goodness she shares on her blog (nearly daily).  The sky's the limit.  If you are looking for a crowd pleasing dessert to take to a Super Bowl party I'm certain you can find something inspirational on Hugs & Cookies.   

I kept some cookies unglazed

Though I was tempted to make one of Danielle's really indulgent treats (like those Kit Kat cheesecake bars--hello!), I ended up picking something a little more straightforward.  I was drawn to her vanilla bean sugar cookies for two reasons.  One, I have Madagascar vanilla beans that I've been itching to use since the fall.  And two, Hubs is a big sugar cookie fan.  In fact, sugar cookies are his favorite type of cookie.  Oh, I and I just thought of a third reason.  It was the perfect opportunity to use my heart shaped cookie cutters which have gotten very little air time since I purchased them. 

The glaze takes on a matte finish after it fully dries

The recipe comes together easily.  I decided to create a vanilla glaze to top these little beauties with even more vanilla (I think Danielle would approve).  I added in wisp of orange extract which brought a really subtle citrus perfume in the background while still allowing the vanilla to shine through. 

Hubs, our resident sugar cookie expert, gives them a thumbs up.  He hinted that it would be A-Okay if make them again.  Thanks Danielle!

Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
adapted from Hugs & Cookies XOXO

Cookies:
2 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Glaze:
2 tablespoons milk
left over vanilla bean pod from the cookies plus another 1/2 vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Add egg and beat until combined.  Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract and beat until just combined. 

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. 

Turn mixer to low and slowly and dry ingredients into the butter sugar mixture until fully combined and a dough forms.  Turn dough out onto plastic wrap and divide in two equal pieces.  Flatten each piece into a round about 1 inch thick.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. 

Roll out dough between two large sheets of parchment paper to just under 1/4 inch thick.  Flour the parchment and dough well as the dough tends to be sticky.  Use your favorite shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies.  Carefully remove each shape and place on the parchment lined baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart.  To help coax the cut out cookies off the parchment, place your hand under the bottom sheet of parchment and pull the parchment away from the dough so you can gently remove the cookie.  Place baking sheet in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to chill the cut out cookies.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until bottom edges appear lightly golden brown.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for about 15 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

While cookies are baking start on the glaze.  Place the milk, vanilla bean pods and seeds in a medium bowl.  The idea is to get all the vanilla goodness infused in the milk.  Set aside.

While cookies are cooling remove vanilla bean pods from the milk and add vanilla extract and orange extract if using.  Whisk in powdered sugar.  Glaze will be loose and pourable.  Set aside until cookies are completely cooled. 

Set up a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you can use the same sheet the cookies baked on).  Place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet.  Dip the face of each cookie so it is completely covered in glaze.  Place cookie face up on the wire rack allowing any excess glaze to drip off on to the parchment paper below.  Allow glaze to dry completely, about 90 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen 3 inch cookies.

25 comments:

  1. These looks so pretty and so yummy! I wish I had one right now for my coffee :( . Love the heart shape, perfect for Valentine's coming up. Also- I love that last picture, it's perfectly laid out!

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  2. ...one last thing...love that you went with vanilla bean (or paste)! one of my favorite hallmarks of vanilla bean is the brown flecks. They look beautiful on this cookie with the white glaze.

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  3. The little flecks of vanilla bean make me oh so happy! I wonder if I can subtly suggest to Shane that he whip up a batch of these for me for Valentine's Day? :)

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  4. Looks like a delicious, delicate cookie. Perfect for tea time!

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  5. I have had the pleasure of being matched with Hugs & Cookies before and you can't go wrong with any of her recipes! These cookies look lovely! I too, love the vanilla flecks. Great choice!

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  6. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL REVIEW OF MY BLOG. THANK YOU SO MUCH! YOUR COOKIES LOOK PERFECT AND LOVE YOUR GLAZE! NOW, I AM OFF TO CHECK OUT YOUR AWESOME BLOG!!! XOXO

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  7. These cookies are so pretty! I love sugar cookies, especially those using real vanilla beans :)

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  8. I do love a good sugar cookie, and these sound fab! So pretty too. I know, Danielle's blog is over the top sugar-licious. I have no idea how she stays so thin.

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  9. These look delicious I love the vanilla specs in them.

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  10. These look really addictive! I made your bacon and egg pie for SRC this month and LOVED it.

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  11. These look delicious!! I've been trying to decide what I want to make my coworkers for Valentine's Day and I think that these will be perfect. One question, does the glaze harden so I can transport or no?

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    1. Hi Sabrina. The glaze does dry so they can be easily transported. Allow at least 90 minutes for drying time. The last photo in the post with large cookie in the center shows a fully dried glazed cookie. I'm sure you will be a hit with your co-workers! :)

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  12. These look so delicious! Perfect for valentine's day!

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  13. That glaze looks amazing! I don't use my cookie cutters nearly enough and shaped cookies are so fun.

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  14. You had me at vanilla bean! These are a winner. Glad to be part of SRC with you.

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  15. mmmmm...love when you can see the flecks of black from the vanilla bean - it means they are sure to be delicious!

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  16. First off--your blog header is making my mouth water.
    The Vanilla Bean cookies look yummy.I just purchased some yummy fresh vanilla beans (I love Amazon Prime--they sell everything). I'll try them soon.

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  17. These look delicious, love the look of the vanilla-y hearts!

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  18. Amazing looking cookies and the glaze was a great addition. I love to see all the little flecks of vanilla :)

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  19. Such a perfect cookie for the upcoming holiday of love! The vanilla beans are such a great touch.

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  20. When you say 2 1/2 sticks of butter do you mean 3 half sticks or 2 and 1/2 full size sticks? I just tried making them and the dough has come out more of a batter not anything like the sugar cookies I have made in the past :(

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    1. 2 1/2 sticks which is equal to 1 1/4 cups. Each stick is 1/2 cup. Perhaps your sticks are more than 1/2 cup? The dough should be a little more stiff than say chocolate chip cookie dough when you first make it. Then it firms up even more in the fridge. Good luck!

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    2. I agree with Anonymous. My friend and I just made these cookies and after the first batch (which turned out flat and spread out, they tasted like baked butter) we added some more flour (not sure how much more) and the next few batches turned out great. We cut them into hearts and used a double boiler and melted some chocolate & white chocolate to drizzle onto them with sprinkles. Adding about 1/2 cup more flour to the recipe is key. Delicious cookies once we tweeked the recipe a little! :)

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    3. Sorry to hear your first batch didn't turn out. I'm glad it worked with the extra flour. Dipping them in chocolate and drizzling with white chocolate and sprinkles sounds fantastic! What a great way to dress them up, especially with Valentines right around the corner.

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  21. Question, i just finished mixing the batter but it had more of a brownie mix consistency than a dough consistency. should i add more flour?

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