Cookies are one of my favorite things about the holiday season, and the sheer variety of cookies available at this time of year is mind boggling. Some are intricately decorated or filled with delicious things. As much as I enjoy all of those kinds, I adore the simple elegance of sables. A buttery, crisp cookie dotted with flecks of vanilla bean and crunchy sugar adorning the edges. Lovely for gifting to others, or for a personal indulgence.

The other great thing about them is that you freeze the dough and then slice and bake, so you can store the dough and then bake them any time you like. The ingredient list is short and sweet, so it’s a good idea to whip up a batch or two now and then have the dough ready for any last minute people you may have forgotten on your gifting list.

Vanilla Bean Sables
By Annie
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise*

2/3 cup vanilla sugar**

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

To finish:

Turbinado sugar for coating (about ¾ cup)

1 large egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean pods, and vanilla sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the egg yolks, one at a time, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, blend in flour and salt until incorporated and a thick dough forms.

Gather dough together and transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Form into a log about 1¾-inches in diameter. Roll dough tightly up in parchment paper, and twist the ends to seal. Transfer dough to freezer and chill until very firm, at least 2-3 hours.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. On a piece of wax or parchment paper, pour a line of turbinado sugar for coating the dough log. Remove dough from freezer, brush lightly with egg wash, and roll in turbinado sugar, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer dough to a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife into rounds just less than ½-inch thick. Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheets.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until edges are light golden and cookies are just set, 14-15 minutes total. Let cool on baking sheets briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*Buying a vanilla bean or two in the grocery store can be expensive. I buy mine in bulk online, a much cheaper option. Plus then you always have vanilla beans on hand – a very good thing indeed! 

** To make vanilla sugar, split a couple of vanilla beans and store in an airtight container with sugar for a while – at least a few days. That’s it! If you don’t have time to wait for vanilla sugar, no worries. These are just as delicious made with regular sugar.

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