Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie

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.

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Maria said...

I don't care if it is hot, I am turning my oven on to make these:)

Juliana said...

Wow, these sugar cookies look so yummie!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Esi,

Ohh you saw Harry Potter?? I can't wait to see the new one!

Baking at midnight was a great idea, and I'm adding that recipe to my cookie file. (Ok it's bigger in volume than the joy of cookie but it's still a file lol!)


Diana said...

So THESE were the cookies you were twittering about the other night! They look lovely. There is something so homey abotu a sugar cookie. Reminds me of my grandma. :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

These look sooo good! Baking after the heat of the day has passed is a wonderful idea.

Erica said...

I bet these melt in your mouth! I'm with Maria- the temperature never prevents me from baking :) Neither does the time of day haha. I am known to start my baking projects late into the night as well!!

Muse in the Kitchen said...

Oh, these sugar cookies look so good! I like the idea of pairing them with the vanilla bean, makes them a little out of the ordinary. Good trick with the butter.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look delicious! Mmmhh, I love vanilla...



Faith said...

I love the pretty flecks of vanilla bean!

Lo said...

Oooh. Midnight baking sounds like a blast. I wish my schedule would accommodate it these days.

This cookie recipe looks completely delish.

daxphillips said...

Those crispy, dark golden edges along just make we want to make these. Yum.

Unknown said...

well, i'm glad(ok maybe that's a stretch) it hasn't been that hot here, as I've still been able to do some baking... these look fabulous :)

Marta said...

Baking is always more fun when you share the joy of eatin it :) and it allows you to bemore daring and creative too!
I love the little specks of vanilla, these are a simple luxury :)

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Esi, what a lovely cookie recipe. The simple yet decadent flavors fit in well with anything or simply by themselves. Have a fantastic weekend love.

Reeni said...

What a great midnight snack these are! Vanilla sugar is divine - I can eat it with a spoon. Enjoy your weekend!

elly said...

These look delicious. Definitely my kind of midnight snack!

Esi said...

Hey everyone, glad you liked the cookies!

Laura, I actually haven't seen the new HP yet. I caught a marathon of old ones on tv. So excited for the new one though!

Diana, I love the simple comfort of a sugar cookie.

Erica, Glad I'm not the only one with late night baking habits :)

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

What a great cookie you made. So nice when you can share with a lot of people. Hope your week-end goes well.

Donna-FFW said...

These are screaming out to me to make them. They look beyond lovely!

Alicia Foodycat said...

So beautiful! How can a cookie be so pretty?