The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

Simple, delicious and full of love- Vanilla Bean Thins

with 5 comments

As I was baking these cookies, I was thinking about how similar shortbread cookies are to people. Both shortbread dough and people can’t be overworked. When overworked, both become dry and brittle. Under stress they will start to crumble and fall into pieces.

But carefully nurtured and given enough time to do their work properly, and both will produce results that will pleasantly surprise you.

My boyfriend is finally coming home on Friday. He won’t get a chance to eat this batch of cookies unfortunately (they finish up too fast), but I may bake a fresh batch to celebrate his coming home safely.

These cookies are really quite awesome. They appeal to almost everyone and their simplicity is the essence of elegance. You can always dress them up by dipping them in chocolate or sprinkling icing sugar over them. But i feel that by themselves, the sweet scent of vanilla in your mouth as it melts and crumbles is perfection. Although they may look frail, don’t let appearances deceive you. Packed carefully, they transport well. I’ve made them to give away twice and the feedback is always highly positive.

Vanilla Bean Thins

adapted from a recipe in Gourmet

• 1 fresh vanilla bean, split lengthwise (buying vanilla beans in SG is like buying chewing gum, it’s not very available. I substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla essence)
• 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
• 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 large egg yolk

Make Vanilla Sugar:  Scrape vanilla seeds from pod with tip of a knife into confectioners sugar.  Halve pods crosswise and bury in sugar.  Cover tightly and let stand at least 24 hours and up to 1 month.

Make Cookies:  Discard pods and transfer vanilla sugar to a food processor.  Add flour, salt and baking powder and pulse to combine.  Add butter and pulse just until mixture is in pea-size lumps.  Add yolk and pulse just until a dough forms. (If you don’t have a food processor like me, follow this sequence instead. Beat the butter, vanilla essence and egg together first. Then add in the dry stuff and mix. DON’T OVERMIX!!! Dough shouldn’t be crumbly.) Gather dough into 2 balls, then flatten into 2 disks and chill, each disk wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

1.  Preheat over to 325˚F.
2.  Roll out 1 disk (keep the other chilled) to less than 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin.  Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutter and arrange cookies 1/2-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Make more cookies with remaining dough, rerolling scraps as little as possible.
3.  Bake cookies in middle of oven until edges are pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer to cooling rack


Written by Musingsat

July 13, 2010 at 10:58 am

Posted in Cookies

5 Responses

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  1. These look delicious – and I agree with your people comparison!

    Chocolate Shavings

    July 23, 2010 at 3:11 am

  2. Hey, Poon Huat at Chip Bee Gardens sells vanilla beans at 10$ for a packet of 10.


    July 23, 2010 at 4:44 am

    • Oooh… thanks for the information! Will go and check out the shop. =)


      July 24, 2010 at 7:18 am



    July 23, 2010 at 6:19 am

  4. […] Vanilla Bean Thins […]

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