Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sweet & Salty Sugar Cookies

What is your favorite kind of cookie? I asked my sister-in-law that same question and the response was one I wasn't really expecting. Or maybe I should have because she is a bit of a selective eater. Her response was sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. What do you even call that, when the major ingredient is missing? Sometimes the odd stuff is the best stuff, so she might be onto something?

My favorite cookie has to be chocolate chip though or white chocolate macadamia nut. It is probably a childhood thing. My grandmother would always make billions of chocolate chip cookies and we would eat them all winter long. The macadamia nut is probably picked up from my dad, pretty sure those are his favorite. I also like them because they seem to have this sweet and slightly salty thing going on.

Sweet and salty has to be the ultimate flavor combination. Chocolate covered pretzels. Salted caramel. These almonds .You name it, if it is sweet and salty it will be awesome. That is how these cookies came to be. Plain old sugar cookies seemed boring. They tend to be overly sweet and run of the mill.

These may be sweet too, but in the best way. You can't just eat one, the salt gets you coming back for more.  It might be just the cookie for the person who doesn't like sweets. These are also super easy to make. Everything should be in your pantry or fridge already.

You take a vanilla bean and scrap out its cute little seeds and combine it with sugar. Beat the sugars and butter. Add an egg and some vanilla extract. The addition of vanilla extract combined with the vanilla bean, gives these a vanilla scented quality. It cuts the sweetness a bit and balances the saltiness. Then you add your flour, mix it all up. Scoop, roll, flatten and bake your cookies. Slam, bam and done! The resulting cookie is chewy and soft on the inside, witch crisp edges.

Try them with a cup of coffee, its delicious. These will make the perfect cookie for the upcoming holiday cookie season. Not to mention an unexpected surprise from the traditional sugar cookie. Take them to a holiday party or to work, for a surprise break from the standard sugary sweet holiday cookies. You'll impress people, promise. I want to know what your favorite cookie is, leave a comment!


Yields 24 cookies
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salty/Sugar Coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Position a rack in the middle of oven.
  2. In a food processor, combine 1 cup sugar and the vanilla bean, pulsing until vanilla is well distributed (If you don't have a food processor, use your hands to break up the vanilla seeds into the sugar, until evenly distributed.)
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. 
  4. In a stand mixer or bowl, beat the sugars and butter together for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. 
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a small shallow pan or plate, mix the sugar and salt. Scoop the dough by the tablespoons, a generous one, rolling the dough into a ball. Next, roll the dough into the sugar/salt mixture. Place the cookies, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheets. Next, slighlty press each cookie, using a flat bottomed glass, flattening the tops. 
  6. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, until their edges are just starting to brown.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool on the pan for several minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  8. Once the cookies are cool, store them in an airtight container and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated

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