Holiday Recipe: Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla, the egg, vanilla bean, salt, and almond extract; mix well. Add the flour and cream of tartar, and mix by hand until it just comes together. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. However, overnight refrigeration is best.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough out into a ¼-inch-thick rough circle, and use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes; place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until set. Continue this process until you’ve used up all the dough. Cool cookies on sheets of foil, and frost once completely cool. These cookies are fine to eat right away, but I think they get their signature touch once left out frosted overnight. We don’t put them away until the next morning.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces soft cream cheese
  • 4 to 6 cups powdered sugar

To make the frosting, simply cream the butter, almond extract, salt, and cream cheese until light and fluffy, and slowly add the powdered sugar. I like mine less sweet, so we do 4 cups of powdered sugar, but you can use up to 6 cups, if desired. Feel free to color small bowls of the frosting and decorate the cookies with sprinkles or tiny candies.

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