I was busy searching for a pure vanilla cake or cookie in Singapore. This search started off from having tried a cupcake that uses real vanilla beans. But the amount of vanilla bean used was, as expected, very little. The fragrance of the vanilla was barely discernable. My determination to taste a cake or cookie made from real vanilla bean was sparked off.
However, no matter how hard I looked, there seemed to be none who baked cakes or cookies using real vanilla beans. I know the beans are expensive and that must be the reason few cake shops will make pure vanilla products. So I decided to bake myself.
When I saw this recipe on the net from 101cookbooks, I knew I had to try.
- 512 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 454 grams unsalted butter
- 128 grams confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean (though optional, my opinion is please use..)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. (I think you can preheat the oven when the dough is chilling in the refridgerator.)
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and put aside.
- In a mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as you are mixing.
- Beat in the vanilla extract. If using a vanilla bean, slit it open along its entire length, scrape out the vanilla bean paste from the interior of the bean and add this to the mixer.
- Add the flour in 2 additions. Stir until everything comes together in a thick dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a countertop and divide into two pieces. Press each piece of dough out into a flat patty an inch thick.
- Wrap each piece in plastic and chill completely in the refridgerator. This takes about 30 minutes. When the dough is chilled, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters or a knife and place on a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet.
- Bake 7-10 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are barely golden.
- Makes 3-4 dozen tiny cookies depending on the size of your cutters.
My finished product:
Living in Singapore where the weather is very humid and warm most times, I had to be careful that I did not over-handle the dough. I froze half a batch by double-wrapping in food wrap and then 1 layer of aluminium foil before bagging it in a Ziploc bag and sticking in the freezer. When I baked the second batch, I found the cookies had more cracks in them than the first batch I made. I can only guess I must have over-handled the dough or my crazy oven is acting up again. Anyway I used the french butter Elle & Vire to make this and it was divine.