A cookie a day keeps the doctor away? Oh if only cookies could heal all sickness. If there was one cookie with healing power, I think it would be these vanilla sables. Or these chocolate chips… in a non-holiday time of year, they will always win.
Anyone else feeling the letdown of Christmas being over? It hit me as soon as gift opening was finished in our home. We have looked forward to Christmas more this year than years past, I think because there is so little to look forward to in our present pandemic life. The dark, cold days and realization that I don’t have a next event to look toward hit me hard. I wasn’t expecting it.
There is a song I have loved this holiday season by Maverick City Music called Is He Worthy. That song (but sung by a different artist) has been a favorite in our home, especially for our youngest, over the past year or two. It is based on chapter 5 of the book of Revelation in the Bible. The lyrics are rich in the goodness of Jesus. But this particular version is a medley of three worship songs that have been favorites over the years, one taking me back to high school. I could listen to it on repeat, though I won’t because I love it so much I don’t want to get sick of it. It has centered my heart and mind when I am tempted to despair in the monotony of all of us being home all the time. I highly recommend a listen… really to the entire Maverick City Christmas album.
back to the cookies…
I’ll give you these and one more tomorrow and then move on from the Christmas cookies. These vanilla sables are probably my favorite. And you can eat them any time of year. Essentially a delicious French butter cookie (so we should say sah-bleh), they remind me of those cookies you used to buy in the round tins with about 5 different varieties. I always loved the pretzel shaped ones with the sugar on top when I was little. Is this ringing a bell…? Anyway, these cookies remind me of those, but better. You could add orange or lemon zest or other flavors, but I wouldn’t. The vanilla sables are perfect just as they are.
For the cookie dough
- 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise* (see note below)
- 2/3 cup vanilla sugar** (see note below)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour*** (see note below)
- ½ tsp salt
For the dough roll edging:
- 1 large egg white mixed with 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup coarse turbinado sugar or sanding sugar for coating
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean pods, and vanilla sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour and salt until incorporated and a thick dough forms.
Gather the dough together and transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Form into a log about 1¾-inches in diameter. Roll the dough tightly up in the parchment paper, and twist the ends to seal. Transfer the dough to the freezer and chill until very firm, at least 2-3 hours.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. On a piece of wax or parchment paper, pour a line of turbinado sugar for coating the dough log. Remove the dough from the freezer, brush lightly with the egg wash, and roll in the turbinado sugar, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer the dough to a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife into rounds just less than ½-inch thick. Place the dough rounds on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the edges are light golden and the cookies are just set, 14-15 minutes total. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*Vanilla and vanilla beans at the grocery store are so expensive. Costco has the best in-store price I’ve come across, though I recommend ordering vanilla beans online – you can get 10 for the price of 2 at the store. Just do a little research and read reviews first. Use Grade A when you use the seeds in a recipe, Grade B for making extracts. Also, I came across vanilla bean powder a few years ago when I did the Whole30. I use it in a pinch when something calls for vanilla beans and I don’t have any on hand. It is less flavorful since it is the whole bean ground into a powder, not just the seeds.
** To make vanilla sugar, split a couple of vanilla beans lengthwise and store in an airtight container with sugar for a while – at least a few days. If you’re making these cookies right now and don’t have a few days, regular sugar works just fine. This last time I baked these cookies, I forgot about the vanilla sugar. Guess what? They were still delicious.
***When baking with gluten-free all-purpose flour, I prefer to use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour. I get much better results with that than King Arthur’s GF flour or any others I have tried.
Source: Everyday Annie