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