Today was a lovely, brisk morning. I was feeling pretty accomplished as I had a few errands done and the dogs walked all by 9:00 am. The cake dome, where I keep my cookies, was almost empty so I decided I had time to whip a batch. I was slightly bored with the peanut butter, chocolate chip, and oatmeal cookies that have recently graced the stand. And my son, for whom really all these cookies are baked, felt my chocolate espresso cookies “were just too rich.” So I decided to do a simple vanilla cookie. I didn’t feel like rolling out sugar cookies so picked some vanilla drop cookies from a trusted cooking magazine.
So much for my great morning, they turned out completely flat (and I broke an egg all over my range…what a mess)! They almost looked like lace cookies. The positive side, which I am prone to look for, is that they tasted lovely. The only thing to do was to make sandwich cookies!!
My first thought was to sandwich them with chocolate ganache, but this would require a trip to the store since there is no whipping cream in the house. Jam would also be a lovely filling, but since the target audience for these cookies is my son, the picky eater, that wouldn’t work either.
Nutella to the rescue![*] Ready to go and delicious. I just microwaved it in 30 second intervals until it was very easy to spread and sandwiched it between two of my sad looking but tasty vanilla cookies. And the bonus to brighten my day…I got to use my Nutella knife from a past trip to France, where Nutella rules. My day is looking up again!!
If you are like me, saving the cookies isn’t enough, you also want to know why they went wrong. First of all, my butter was way too soft. I popped my butter in the microwave to help soften it and I went a little too far. If your butter is too soft it can make the cookies a bit greasy, which mine were. You should be able to press your thumb into the butter with some resistance. This morning, was also another example of the importance of reading through the whole recipe before you start. I creamed my butter and sugar like I was making a cake. In this recipe, you beat the butter until smooth and then add the sugar and beat just until combined.
I have made this recipe many times since my first failed attempt and they are a delicious, thin little cookie. And even when they turn out, sandwiching them will Nutella is not a bad thing!
Vanilla Bean Cookies
makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies
220 g (1¾ cup) all-purpose flour
7.5 ml (½ tsp) kosher salt
1.25 ml (¼ tsp) baking soda
170 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
Seeds from vanilla bean, OR 7.5 ml (1½ tsp) vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs, room temperature
Position the oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats (Silpat).
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder until well blended. In another medium bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla bean seeds or extract and continue beating until combined, about 1 min. Add the eggs and beat until well blended, about 1 min. longer. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough in mounds about 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes.
Set the sheets on racks and let cool for 5 min. before transferring the cookies to the racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough ensuring that cookie sheets have cooled before reusing.
adapted from Fine Cooking
[*] Since I initially wrote this post, I have personally stopped using Nutella because it contains palm oil. The production of palm oil is destroying orangutan habitat and putting the survival of this endangered species at risk. I have found a delicious locally made alternative Going Nuts Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. It is delicious sandwiched between cookies…or just by the spoonful!