Friday, December 18, 2009


I just purchased vanilla beans and vanilla powder to make a prize-winning apple pie (post will follow at a later date), and now, of course, I must use them. I made several batches of my own vanilla extract (I’ll be posting how to do that with the results, later) and I also made my own vanilla powder (another post to come). But I still have vanilla beans left. This cookie, from a very old recipe, is a classic fave of just about everyone I know. I used some vanilla, but also used part of a vanilla bean. I mixed some vanilla powder with the confectioner’s sugar that the cookies got rolled in after they baked. I won’t say they taste dramatically different from any other butter ball, but they are good. If you don’t have beans and powder to use up, just use vanilla extract in the cookie and leave the powder out of the final rolling. They’ll be delicious.
Using confectioner’s sugar in the cookie makes it more tender. You can put regular sugar in the food processor and grind it more finely, but confectioner’s sugar also has cornstarch in it. I’ve made butter balls both ways; and, frankly, no matter how you make them they melt in your mouth and are amazing. I could eat these all day long, but thankfully, I gave them all away so they won’t tempt me.
Vanilla-Vanilla Bean Butter Balls
Rating: 10 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans
1-1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (put the scraped pod in your sugar jar, or make vanilla powder)
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Confectioner’s Sugar Coating: 1/2 cup 10X sugar + 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder

Heat oven to 350F. Place all ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse till mixture forms a dough (about 1 minute or so), scraping sides + bottom as needed. Turn mixture out onto lightly floured board and roll slightly rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Place balls, 1” apart, on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes, till set but not browned. (The undersides should be lightly browned, and tops should start to crack.) Transfer carefully to wire rack. Place coating ingredients in resealable sandwich bag; seal; shake well to distribute vanilla powder. Carefully toss hot cookies, two at a time, in coating and place back on rack to finish cooling. When completely cool, repeat process for a second coating. Butter balls made with confectioner’s sugar will be more fragile, so handle them very lovingly or you will have cookie pieces instead of cookies. Yield: 24-25


Anncoo said...

WOW! This is lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Ola Judy-these vanilla balls look elicious-would love to make these a bit crunchier-u think bakin 'em longer will help?
High 5 for the extract & sugar & powder-me to make my own extract,its 6 months now and fantstic and me too have written a post but havent taken pics yet(always have a back log of pic takin and dont have my own cam and use little b's cell phone so it aint w me all the time :-))) )
VAnilla powder was on my list too and now will have ur post as guidance-looking foward to all ur later posts Judy....
Boas festas
bejinhos e boa fim de semano..

A Year on the Grill said...

LOL... I always laugh at the idea of vanilla beans. I know where I can find them, but it is inconvenient, and I just have not gotten around to it yet.

But my wife asked me about stocking stuffer type gifts, all i could come up with were vanilla beans ... hope Santa was listening

George Gaston said...

Judy, Many thanks for posting another incredible cookie. You are helping my cookie tray to overflow with new and exciting favorites.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

How interesting....I know vanilla beans and vanilla extract, but I'm not familiar with vanilla powder. Beautiful butter balls Judy.

teresa said...

mmmm, these look like they would just melt in your mouth!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This looks like quite a sensational treat. I like these cookies are almost bite size.

Sophie said...

What lovely treats, Judy!! Just so festive & ooh soo yummie as well,...

Donna-FFW said...

Judy.. these sound fantastic, I know I would love them..

Mar said...

Te deseo con todo mi cariño unas Navidades maravillosas junto a tu familia y amigos y un año 2010 lleno de salud y amor. Que sepas que tienes una amiga en mi, y que puedes contar conmigo para lo que necesites siempre... Mucha felicidad para el resto de tu vida....
Un gran beso y apretado abrazo

Katrina said...

Haven't been here in a couple weeks (haven't been to very many blogs!), but things sure look de-lish over here, Judy! I love Christmas and all the baking involved! Hope you have a great holiday!

Anonymous said...

Setzen, sechs!