Tomorrow morning we are heading up to Las Vegas to visit family, and I wanted to write a quick post about these cookies I made for us to have during the drive.
The recipe for these is from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Pure Vanilla. I’ve always loved vanilla, and when I saw that there was going to be a cookbook coming out that was devoted to that awesome flavor, I immediately pre-ordered it. However, I’ve not had a chance to make more than one recipe until now. But I was determined to make something else from the book before our trip, and I chose these since I figured they’d survive the trip relatively intact.
Oh my goodness, these are good! The texture is perfect. And since there is lots of vanilla extract in the cookies, and vanilla sugar on top of the cookies, the flavor really shines.
Heirloom Vanilla Sugar Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Vanilla Sugar (see below)
Coarse rainbow sugar or other decorative sugar, for sprinkling (or sprinkles)
1) Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and egg in a medium bowl.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale in color, about 2 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn mixer to low and gradually beat in the oil-egg mixture until smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth. The dough will be soft.
4) Roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons each, and place 2 inches apart om the prepared baking sheets. Pour the vanilla sugar onto a plate. Spray the bottom of drinking glass (a flat-bottomed glass), and dip the bottom of the glass into the vanilla sugar to coat. Press into each ball to flatten to about 1/4-inch thick, re-sugaring the glass each time.
5) Sprinkle the flattened cookies with decorative sugar, if desired. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through, until pale golden and just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Fill a lidded container with about 2 cups of granulated sugar. Bury a vanilla bean or two, split lengthwise, in the sugar. Tighten the lid and shake the container well. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 days.
*Adapted from Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever
—I found that the dough was easier to roll into a ball with wet hands (it keeps the dough from sticking to your hands too much.
—I refrigerated the trays of cookies before I baked them because I was worried about them spreading too much. If you choose to do this they will take longer to bake, so keep an eye on them to see when they are done.
—For some of the cookies I used a small scalloped cookie cutter to imprint the cookies with a design. Simply push the cutter partially through the dough after flattening with the glass.