I recently mentioned how it has definitely become more fun to bake now that I have more people with which to share my baked goods. Unfortunately, my baking cravings have struck in the middle of summer and it's freaking hot and who really feels like turning on an oven in this weather? For me, the solution has apparently become baking at midnight. After a lazy Saturday of not doing much more than a little party planning and Harry Potter watching, I got the bright idea to bake something. I didn't care that it was midnight or that I had better things to do like script coverage, I wanted to cream butter and sugar and create something wonderful. I recently came across this recipe and bookmarked it because it used ingredients I always have on hand. Even getting the butter to room temperature was easy because of a little trick I learned of placing the butter on the overhang of my (ancient) preheating oven and rotating it every once in a while. These cookies take no time to make and even less time to be devoured. The scent of vanilla has quickly become one of my favorite baking smells (next to cinnamon) and there is vanilla in every bite from the full bean used in the batter to the sprinkling of vanilla sugar on top of the cookies. If you ever find yourself with an extra vanilla bean, I highly recommend placing it in a bit of granulated sugar for as long as you can. Vanilla sugar is amazing on practically any baked good. I loved these soft, buttery cookies and my coworkers seemed to enjoy them as well. If you decide to make them, I would skip the refrigerating/freezing step suggested in the original recipe as I didn't find it necessary and the cookies still came out great!
Today is my Thursday...looking forward to a long weekend with family and friends...what do you have planned?
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
(As found on Joy the Baker)
Makes 1 dozen 2-inch cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sugaring tops (I used vanilla sugar for the tops)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil, or grease generously with butter or cooking spray.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter in a large bowl on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the vegetable oil. It may not fully incorporate with the butter, but that is fine. Add the granulated sugar, powdered sugar, egg and vanilla, beating on medium speed until each ingredient is completely incorporated.
Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt all at once using a wooden spoon or the mixer set on low. The dough will be soft.
For large cookies, dollop 2 tablespoons of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. For smaller cookies use 1 tablespoon for each cookie. Press the dough evenly with your fingers or palm to 1/4-inch thickness. Generously sprinkle vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar) on top of the cookie dough.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes for larger cookies or 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely. The cookies will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.