Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas treats: Vanilla Sables

These are not the fanciest cookies in my cookie jars nor do they really stand out but they are delicious in their simplicity.  Both in taste and the process of making them.  I'm a big fan of buttery cookies this time of year and make many kinds.  I don't know that anyone reaches for these besides me but that's ok.  They are a great basic cookie.  Lots of buttery vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Sables
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 vanilla beans
2/3 cup sugar or vanilla sugar
2 egg yolks
1 TB vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
sparkle sugar for coating
1 egg white
1 TB water

1) If you can plan ahead a little, split a vanilla bean or two and store in a sealed container with sugar.  Over a few days the sugar will absorb some of that vanilla and become "vanilla sugar".  Last year I didn't plan ahead and just used regular sugar.  This year I made vanilla sugar.  Not a huge difference either way.
2) When you are actually ready to make the cookies, beat the butter, seeds scraped from the vanilla beans, and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, a few minutes.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and the vanilla.  Turn the mixer to low and add the flour and salt.  Mix just until incorporated and a soft dough forms.
3) Gather the dough into a ball and place on a sheet of parchment paper.  Roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter.  Roll the log tightly in the parchment paper and then plastic wrap.  Place in the freezer for at least a few hours.
4) When it is baking time, preheat the oven to 350°.  On a piece of wax or parchment paper pour some sparkling sugar.  Combine the egg white and 1 TB of water to make an egg wash.  Take the dough log out of the freezer and unwrap, then brushing with the egg white/water.  Roll the dough in the sugar, as best you can (I always make a bit of a mess doing this).  Slice the dough log into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.  Place the rounds on cookie sheets.
5) Bake just until the edges are lightly golden, about 14-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.  Briefly let cool on the baking sheets before transferring to cooling racks. 

Source: Annie's Eats

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