Wednesday, 22 May 2013

2012 - Spill the Beans (or the Dragées)

I've been really busy putting Our Cookie Journal online for the past month or so but I managed to get going (in real time!) again today with Vanilla-Bean Butter Cookies. I've made them once before and they were delicious and they're so complementary to the many chocolate varieties that I usually wind up baking.
Vanilla beans can be costly — but worth it!
The recipe calls for three vanilla beans (which can cost a lotta beans!). Charlie helped by taking photos of me scraping the seeds from the beans. I drive him crazy because I always want several photos from which to choose.

Use the back edge of a knife to scrape out the seeds.

The dough had to chill, so I waited until the next day to bake them (after I made a blog entry!). The last time I made these, I used a snowflake cookie cutter, which was too intricate for this delicate dough. It's so precious, you have to keep re-freezing it — after you roll it out, and again after you cut it out.

But since I used a simple star cutter this time, I skipped the second freezing and popped them straight into the oven. They were fiiiiiine! In fact, I've just eaten two!! It also knocked the baking time down to 10 minutes. So, keep an eye on these until you figure out how long they should bake (when the edges are golden). The recipe yielded 4 1/2 dozen sumptuous stars.

I also spilled about a million dragées and the sound of them cascading all over the kitchen floor was absolutely sublime!

Don't worry about putting these back in the freezer.

Vanilla-Bean Butter Cookies
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2  1/2 c flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
colored dragées
sanding sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar. Scrape in vanilla seeds. Beat on high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine.

Add flour and salt, beat on low till incorporated.

Divide dough into half; flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On lightly floured surface, roll out disks to 1/4-inch thickness. Place dough on separate baking sheets and chill in freezer for 20 minutes.

Line baking sheets with parchment. Using 2-inch star-shaped cutter, cut out stars. Place a dragée in center of each star; sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Freeze until firm, 10 to 20 minutes.

Bake until golden, rotating sheets halfway through, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


  1. Fasting for 6 days now... I picked the wrong day to learn about cookies... torture!

    I love vanilla, but never worked with the bean - only the extract. Where do you get vanilla beans from?

    1. noooooo! Ramadan? I live in the UK and can get them at Waitrose. They are available nearly everywhere in the States. If you're further afield, they can be found online. They really are wonderful things too. You can stick one in a small bottle with vodka and make your own pure vanilla essence too!

  2. They look so pretty and must taste delicious!

    1. Thanks so much, Linette! They're so yummy that I will be making them again this Christmas.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes, they are. :) That's how this whole blog started - my sister and I, and our Christmas cookie baking exploits in a diary. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)