Excerpted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox, Photographs by Ellen Silverman.
Using both vanilla bean and vanilla extract gives these buttery, nut-filled cookies a rich, round character.
As the vanilla bean tumbles around in your mixer, its flavorful oils mix into the dough. High-fat butter lends an extra richness, but you can use regular butter with fine results, if you like.
Makes 2½ dozen
- 3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 10 tablespoons (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter, preferably high-fat, at room temperature
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, bean and seeds reserved
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 11/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons Demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 5 minutes. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, vanilla extract, and salt on medium speed until no visible chunks of butter remain, about 3 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in three additions, mixing each well before adding the next. Stir in the pecans.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Remove the vanilla bean and recycle it for another use. Roll the dough into a log about 1. inches in diameter. Wrap it in parchment paper, making sure to cover the ends completely, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight. (The dough can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Let the dough stand at room temperature until it is soft enough to slice, about 5 minutes.
Brush the dough with the egg yolk, roll it in the Demerara sugar to coat it evenly, and then slice it into .-inch-thick rounds. Place the rounds about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cookies are lightly golden and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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Excerpted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox, Photographs by Ellen Silverman. Copyright © 2009 by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox, Photographs by Ellen Silverman. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.