Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vanilla Bean Cookies

 I've been making my own vanilla sugar for a few months now. At first, I just followed a Food Network recipe. I scraped a few vanilla beans into a few cups of sugar, and poured it into a jar, along with the empty vanilla pod. Then I tried to stir it around, but this didn't incorporate the vanilla bean seeds very well. So, I started putting the sugar and vanilla bean seeds in my food processor and mixing it up that way. Then I put the empty vanilla bean pods in the bottom of my glass jar and poured my lovely vanilla sugar over top. It's beautiful, has a wonderful aroma, and a mild vanilla flavor. I love the little black specks in baked goods and ice cream. (A good place to buy Vanilla Beans, by the way, is Ebay. I like the seller The Organic Vanilla Bean Company. They go for about $.34 a bean, or so, instead of $8 for one dried-up bean from the grocery store. And they are very good quality-moist and plump. It's good to be moist and plump if you're a vanilla bean!).

After having my delicious vanilla sugar in my pantry for a while, and not making good use of it (except my husband putting it on his cereal in the mornings) I thought it would be good in a cookie. I looked briefly online and couldn't find any recipes, so I made up my own. I love how these cookies are buttery and vanilla-y and there are little vanilla bean specks everywhere. I like my cookies soft and chewy, so I only bake for 8 minutes. I almost always bake with some whole wheat pastry flour, but feel free to just use an equal part white if that's what you're used to. Whole wheat pastry flour is so great though- it adds health benefits and you can't even tell it's in there. (Stay tuned for more vanilla bean recipes!)

Vanilla Bean Cookies
recipe by What A Dish!

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream vanilla sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Whisk together flours, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; beat into creamed mixture until just combined. In a small bowl, place 2-3 TBS vanilla sugar. Using a medium cookie scoop, shape dough into balls, and roll all over in vanilla sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies will puff up and flatten slightly. Cool on wire racks.

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Carrie said...

those look soooo good!

HoneyB said...

Love your ideas Dish...and those cookies look so good (mimicking Carrie - but so true!) Grumpy likes his cookies soft too!

LadyJayPee said...

Dishy, what's your vanilla bean:sugar ratio? I want to make vanilla sugar next time I get some beans!

What A Dish! said...

JPee, I use 3 vanilla beans for 2 cups of sugar. For these cookies, I'll set aside 3 TBS. of vanilla sugar and mix an extra vanilla bean's worth of seeds into that, so the vanilla sugar topping is extra vanill-y.

Rachelle said...

You are so inspiring! Now I have to buy some vanilla beans so I can make those yummy-looking cookies.

GrannyLooHoo said...

I'm surprised JPee didn't come stampeding your door for those Dishy! They make my mouth water...