The other night I headed to the kitchen to make some chocolate chip cookies. When I opened the cabinet I realized we were out of brown sugar. The horror. How could I possibly let that happen when one never knows when the chocolate chip cookie craving will strike? So I decided on sugar cookies. But plain old sugar cookies? How… vanilla. So I kept shoving stuff around in that cabinet until I found 2 beautiful vanilla beans. These cookies were the result. While not as fantastic as chocolate chip (in my book), they were a nice change. They are light and crisp, but do have a little chewy bite when still warm, or sliced thick and slightly under baked. 
These would be great Valentine’s Day cookies if you have the patience to roll the dough and use cookie cutters. If not, just roll the logs in pink or red sanding sugar before slicing. I tried using just a bit of pink sugar with the regular sugar, and that didn’t work out well as you can see. 

I must admit, I thought this dough was even tastier than the baked cookies. 

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies 
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup plain suger, and 1/4 cup colored sugar for coating)
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter  and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. With a knife halve vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape seeds into butter mixture and beat in egg and vanilla extract until combined well. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into mixture and beat until just combined.
On a large sheet of wax paper form dough into a 10- by 2-inch log and roll up in wax paper. Chill dough until firm, at least 4 hours. Dough keeps up to 3 days wrapped in wax paper and foil.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Put remaining 1/4 cup sugar on a platter. Remove wax paper and roll log in sugar (not all sugar will adhere to log). Cut log crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and dip cut sides of slices in sugar on platter. Arrange cookies 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets and bake in batches in middle of oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are pale golden. With a metal spatula transfer cookies to a rack to cool. Cookies may be made 2 days ahead (vanilla flavor will intensify!) and kept between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container.
adapted from Gourmet Magazine via Click here for reviews and original recipe.