Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

They look very simple….

Look closer…
The seeds from three vanilla beans perfume these simple sugar cookies. They are delicious.
I used a #100 scoop, and made about 6 dozen small, vanilla wafer size cookies. The cookie dough balls need to be scooped soon after mixing, as resting the cookie dough in the refrigerator causes it to harden.
You can find the recipe here. I didn’t add the crystalized sugar to the cookies…it just seemed…wrong.

1-2-3 essence from "Ratio" page 38

A cookbook with math formulas!  What more could an accountant / baker want?

I have to admit, the first time I baked the 1-2-3 Cookie Dough, I used white wheat flour, added orange oil, and threw in chopped Ghirardelli 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate.  I should have added more sugar!  The mixture was very crumbly.  Lesson learned:  ”If it’s crumbly going in, it will probably be crumbley coming out.”  The cookies were bad..just bad.  But, the fault was not that of Mr. Ruhlman’s ratio in his latest book, “Ratio The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.”  
For my second attempt with the ratio, I followed the directions (almost) exactly as the author suggested.  My only deviation was the addition of the seeds from one vanilla bean (don’t! throw that bean away; bury it in a jar of granulated sugar).  The dark, tiny flecks throughout the shortbread cookies added to their charm and simplicity, and taste.  I could have dressed the cookies with drizzles of chocolate, but I let them stand on their own.  They were delicious.  They were not crumbly.  They cut beautifully.  Like the author says, “…you can understand what a cookie is.”
I like to bake shortbread in my 14″ x 4″ tart pan.  It’s easy to remove the cookie, and its easy to cut even slices.

Add this percentage to your book, Mr. Ruhlman –  The cookies get a 100% rating!  I just need more room in the margin for notes!

Vanilla Scones

How many of us remember that something that Mom baked?  I would venture to say that many of us do remember a special treat that our mothers baked.  It might have been ordinary, everyday baking, or it might have been a favorite Amalgamation cake that Mom only baked at Christmas.

May represents Mother’s day.  My mother has not been able to bake for several years; so, when I bake, I remember her.

I never saw my mother use a vanilla bean.  She would have enjoyed baking with vanilla sugar.  The vanilla sugar ‘shake’ with vanilla bean ‘straw’ represent my contribution to recycling (I always save the bean, after scraping the seeds, and bury it in a container of granulated sugar.).  The sugar shake smells divine.  And, it lends its own special contribution to my baking.

I used the vanilla sugar to make triple vanilla scones.  They were delicious!  I found the recipe on Food Blog Search.  That took me to this post by Cookie Baker Lynn from 2008.  Good food just does not go out of style. 

I followed the recipe as printed, using heavy whipping cream and I weighed the dry ingredients by using this converter.  Let me offer this piece of advice.  Use the food processor as she suggests.  I used my 4.5 qt Kitchen Aid mixer and this recipe was too much for the mixer.  The motor strained and the flour in the bottom of the mixer bowl did not mix well.  I had to hand knead the dough, thus warming the butter.  After working through this minor mishap, the scones rose beautifully, and they tasted deliciously delicious.  

This scone recipe yields a scone that is ever so slightly ‘cakey.’  But, not in a bad way.  They are a cross between a flaky, buttery scone and a cake scone.  

These are far better than the similar product at Starbucks; but, everything is always better fresh home baked!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  This wonderful, vanilla baked treat is in honor of you…love gale…