Vanilla Bean Cut-Out Cookies

Vanilla Bean Cut-Out Cookies : no-chill, no spread sugar cookie recipe for decorating

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I'm going to choose chocolate ice cream over vanilla. And in baked goods, I may lean towards chocolate, there are times when a girl just wants some good ol' vanilla. ESPECIALLY when she can see those little flecks of vanilla bean.

I make these cut-out cookies when I have vanilla on the brain...or when I'm making cookies for someone with a nut allergy. My go-to cut-out cookie recipe contains almond extract. Instead of just leaving out the almond, I wanted to give these a little more va-va-va-voom. 

Vanilla Bean Cut-Out Cookies : no-chill, no spread sugar cookie recipe for decorating

Look closely at the cookies, and you'll see those gorgeous vanilla bean flecks. Oh hello, beautiful.

vanilla bean paste
vanilla bean paste flecks

These vanilla bean cookies are easily made using vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste is like a thicker vanilla extract chockful of vanilla bean seeds. My grocery store carries it, but you can also find it online...Amazon and King Arthur Flour are two great resources.

I rolled these cookies to 3/8" thickness. You'll get a thick, fairly soft cookie that tastes of vanilla and butter. In other words, they're heavenly.

Vanilla Bean Cut-Out Cookies : no-chill, no spread sugar cookie recipe for decorating

Did I mention that the dough is no-chill? That's right...make it and roll it out immediately. No chilling required. The dough freezes beautifully. The baked cookies freeze beautifully. You kind of can't go wrong here.

I get asked a lot about baking powder in cut-out cookies. I'm a fan. Baking powder adds a lightness to cookies which I prefer over a shortbread texture. Yes, the cookies will "poof" a bit in the oven, but will not lose their shape. There's a tip in the recipe below.

Vanilla Bean Cut-Out Cookies
{makes about 12 four-inch cookies}

3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup cold salted butter, cut into chunks
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Line cookie sheets with parchment. Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter for several minutes until combined and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla bean paste.

On low speed, add the flour in three additions, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl each time. Beat until the dough comes together.

[Note: there will likely be bits of dry flour in the bottom of the bowl. That's ok. Knead this into the dough by hand.]

On a floured surface and using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-3/8" thickness. Dip cookie cutters into flour and cut out shapes. Place shapes onto a prepared pan and freeze for 5-10 minutes before baking. This helps them keep their shape.

Bake for 9-13 minutes, depending on the cutter size. Cookies should appear done in the centers, but without much coloring. Cool on a wire rack before decorating with royal icing.

vanilla bean paste

Vanilla bean cut-out cookies. They're a good thing.

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