Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

I invited some friends over last weekend to decorate cookies. I usually bake and decorate cookies for gifts. This time I baked but I thought the time would be better spent decorating them with others; then they get to take home their own masterpieces. It was a fun afternoon with holiday music, snacks and fun conversation. My finished products looked so good I will definitely be leaving some out for Santa on Christmas Eve…You are never too old to not believe! Here is the recipe of the sugar cookies we decorated. These cookies have always been a popular one at our bakery. I always made these at the holidays and I have even had this recipe published in the Arizona Republic one year. The real Vanilla Bean added to the cookie makes a nice depth of flavor, and every once in a while you get a bite from the sea salt making it a pleasent surprise I hope you enjoy them as I know so many have over the years. Maybe if you leave some for Santa too you will stay on the nice list.

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies (makes about 4 dozen, but depends on the size of the cookie cuter)

1 cup of Butter

1cup of Sugar

1 Vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1 Egg

Zest of one Orange

2 tbsp of Orange Juice, freshly squeezed

2 ½ cups of AP Flour

1 tbsp of Baking Powder

½ tsp of Sea Salt

First, cream together the butter and the sugar along with the vanilla. Then add the egg, juice and zest and mix until smooth and fluffy.

Next, gradually stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Wrap tightly and chill for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.

Then, roll out dough on floured surface. Cut out cookie shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Chill again until firm, about 30 minutes. This dough is real forgiving and you can reuse the scraps from your cookie cutters, but do not reroll more than twice.

Finally, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Baking time may vary depending on size of cookie cutter used, but bake until edges of cookie are golden rotating them half way through. Let cool and you can decorate them with powdered sugar or decorate them with royal icing.