Yes, I realize that today is still October. No, I haven’t lost my mind. Yes, these do look like Christmas cookies. In fact, they are Vanilla Sugar Bean Cookies cut into festive stars topped with white chocolate and sugar crystals! Why, you say? Let’s face it — the holidays are practically around the corner and it’s time to start planning holiday gatherings, start shopping (before December 24 preferably), and start baking–and freezing—cookies! To wind up National Cookie Month, here’s one of my family’s all-time favorite cookies that just happens to freeze well. Make them a couple of weeks ahead of time to relieve some of that last minute holiday stress!
These elegant cookies were glazed with white chocolate and then topped with Frost White decorating sugar from India Tree.
The secret to all these cookies’ deliciousness is those tiny little vanilla bean seeds. My vanilla bean, as well as the decorating sugar used in the recipe, came from India Tree, one of our cookie month project sponsors. You’ll want to carefully split open the vanilla bean, gently scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife, and then sniff in that wonderful aroma before you add the seeds to the dough! Heavenly!
I also used King Arthur All-Purpose Flour in my cookie dough and was very pleased with the dough’s texture and how easy it was to work with. I chose to make multiple sizes of both stars and Christmas trees and especially loved using these new Cuisipro nesting cookie cutters from Katom!
I like to place a cookie rack over a wax paper-lined cookie sheet when glazing and sprinkling/decorating these cookies to make clean up a bit easier. Allow glazed cookies to dry completely before storing in an airtight container. To freeze the cookies, gently place in a gallon size ziplock freezer bag. Being careful not to crush cookies, squeeze out excess air and seal. Place flat in freezer for up to two weeks. Cookies will thaw at room temperature in just about an hour.
If you like, alternately stack cookies large to small to create a cookie tree! To use it as decoration on your dessert table, add a little melted chocolate between the cookie layers and allow to dry completely to secure in place.
Be sure to check out my cookie month partners and their amazing recipes: Jess at The 104 Homestead – Kathie at Homespun Seasonal Living – Tessa at Homestead Lady – Chris at Joybilee Farm – Wendy at The Monday Box – Nikki at Nik Snacks – Shari at Pure Grace Farms – Angi at Schneiderpeeps – Lauren at Wicked Spatula
The following companies generously sponsored various cookie month projects. I may not have used all of them in my recipes, but this project is in no small part thanks to them and their incredible contributions: Bob’s Red Mill, The Daily Meal, India Tree, KerryGold, King Arthur Flour, Product of GIR, KaTom, SunButter & Wilton.
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 12-ounce package white chocolate morsels, divided
- Sparkling white sugar
- Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Carefully scrape out seeds, using a small sharp knife. Set seeds aside.
- Beat butter in a large mixing bowl at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla bean seeds, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract, mixing well.
- Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until smooth. Shape dough into four discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour.
- Roll each disc to 1/4" thickness of a lightly floured surface. Cut with 3" and 4" snowflake, star, angel, or Christmas tree cutters. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks, and cool completely.
- Combine 1/2 cup white chocolate morsels and 1 tablespoon shortening in a 1-cup glass measure. Melt morsels according to package directions.
- Place cookies on a wire rack over wax paper. Pour or spread white chocolate mixture over each cookie, tilting cookie to coat completely. Sprinkle cookies with sparkling sugar. Let stand until frosting hardens. Repeat procedure with remaining white morsels, shortening, and sugar until all cookies are decorated.