Sometimes you just want to go back to basics.
And when you do, you want the purest, simplest, and best basic recipe you can find.
I think I have appropriately chronicled on this blog my fiance's love of snickerdoodles. Â So when I decided to adapt that perfect recipe into sugar cookies, he was more or less supportive (as long as I made a batch of snickerdoodles, alongside the sugar cookies).
A vanilla bean adds so much to a sugar cookie recipe -- those little black flecks are, in my mind, one of the most promising, enticing things you can find in a dessert. With natural elegance and a huge burst of flavor, I'll never make sugar cookies without them again.
This recipe is so simple there's isn't a lot to write, but I will leave you with a crucial reminder: do not overbake them! The quickest way to ruin a batch of cookies is to forget to set a timer when they're in the oven. Eight minutes, tops, and let them rest a little longer on the pan when they're cooking if they're too soft for you. But really -- who has ever met a cookie that's too soft?
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and seeds from vanilla bean.
Sift together the baking powder and flour, and add to the wet ingredients. Shape cookies into balls and place on a greased cooking sheet, flattening slightly with your palm. Bake for 8 minutes, allow to cool in the baking sheet for 1 minute, and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 30 cookies.