It's back. Secret Recipe Club that is. We took a break in December since the holidays are such a busy time for most. It feels like we've been on hiatus for more than a month though. I'm glad we're back in business!
This month I was assigned Danielle's blog, Hugs & Cookies XOXO. WOW. Hugs & Cookies is teeming with uber decadent desserts. And I mean decadent! Most of her sweets involve several layers of flavor and texture...by combining cookies, brownies and caramel or chocolate sauces/ glazes with various types of candy worked all into ONE serious treat. To see what I mean, check out these Oreo cheesecake bars on a chocolate chip cookie crust topped with chocolate glaze, raspberry M&M's and more Oreos. Or these quadruple layer chocolate cheesecake Kit Kat bars--now that's some chocolate love. Danielle's creativity is evident in the seemingly endless combinations of sweet goodness she shares on her blog (nearly daily). The sky's the limit. If you are looking for a crowd pleasing dessert to take to a Super Bowl party I'm certain you can find something inspirational on Hugs & Cookies.
|I kept some cookies unglazed|
Though I was tempted to make one of Danielle's really indulgent treats (like those Kit Kat cheesecake bars--hello!), I ended up picking something a little more straightforward. I was drawn to her vanilla bean sugar cookies for two reasons. One, I have Madagascar vanilla beans that I've been itching to use since the fall. And two, Hubs is a big sugar cookie fan. In fact, sugar cookies are his favorite type of cookie. Oh, I and I just thought of a third reason. It was the perfect opportunity to use my heart shaped cookie cutters which have gotten very little air time since I purchased them.
|The glaze takes on a matte finish after it fully dries|
The recipe comes together easily. I decided to create a vanilla glaze to top these little beauties with even more vanilla (I think Danielle would approve). I added in wisp of orange extract which brought a really subtle citrus perfume in the background while still allowing the vanilla to shine through.
Hubs, our resident sugar cookie expert, gives them a thumbs up. He hinted that it would be A-Okay if make them again. Thanks Danielle!
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
adapted from Hugs & Cookies XOXO
2 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
left over vanilla bean pod from the cookies plus another 1/2 vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy about 2 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Turn mixer to low and slowly and dry ingredients into the butter sugar mixture until fully combined and a dough forms. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap and divide in two equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a round about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Roll out dough between two large sheets of parchment paper to just under 1/4 inch thick. Flour the parchment and dough well as the dough tends to be sticky. Use your favorite shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Carefully remove each shape and place on the parchment lined baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. To help coax the cut out cookies off the parchment, place your hand under the bottom sheet of parchment and pull the parchment away from the dough so you can gently remove the cookie. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to chill the cut out cookies. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until bottom edges appear lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for about 15 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.
While cookies are baking start on the glaze. Place the milk, vanilla bean pods and seeds in a medium bowl. The idea is to get all the vanilla goodness infused in the milk. Set aside.
While cookies are cooling remove vanilla bean pods from the milk and add vanilla extract and orange extract if using. Whisk in powdered sugar. Glaze will be loose and pourable. Set aside until cookies are completely cooled.
Set up a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you can use the same sheet the cookies baked on). Place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Dip the face of each cookie so it is completely covered in glaze. Place cookie face up on the wire rack allowing any excess glaze to drip off on to the parchment paper below. Allow glaze to dry completely, about 90 minutes.
Makes about 4 dozen 3 inch cookies.