April 6, 2010

Lemon and vanilla bean sugar cookies

These cookies were the second of my Easter dinner desserts -- something a bit more kid friendly and that you can just pick up and eat. I found cute daisy and tulip cookie cutters that I thought would be perfect for spring. I decided to just make a basic sugar cookie, but to flavor the two different shapes in different ways. I made the daisy cookies vanilla bean and the tulip cookies lemon. I'm not a big fan of using frosting, food coloring, and/or a lot of sprinkles because they are all loaded with a bunch of stuff I prefer to not eat. I used turbinado sugar to decorate the tops of the lemon cookies and unbleached fine cane sugar that had been sitting with used vanilla bean pods (so a vanilla sugar) on the vanilla bean cookies. I used the recipe that I found here and modified it. The recipe will make about two dozen cookies.

Sugar cookies
1 cup organic butter at room temperature
3/4 cup fine organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add butter, sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing on low speed. When they are just combined, add the flavorings of your choice (or none if you want just plain sugar cookies). I split the dough in half and added the zest of 1 lemon and about 1 teaspoon of juice to half of the dough. To the other half, I added about another 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and seeds from about 1/2 of a vanilla bean. After adding the extra ingredients, continue mixing until the ingredients are combined. The dough will be crumbly and not held together. Form the dough into a ball and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough rolls best when it's slightly warm. Roll until about 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Top with sugar, if desired. Place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Continue until all dough has been used. Let cool on a wire rack.

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