Simple, yet far from ordinary, these cookies will delight anytime from summer to winter with their basic butter cookie vibe plus a vanilla bean twist. The majority of the ingredients are already in your pantry, save the vanilla beans which you can find at specialty stores, amazon.com, and some supermarkets such as Wegman’s. The vanilla sugar does take some planning ahead, but it adds an elegance that’s worth waiting for. This recipe is one that I have been meaning to attempt for a couple years, adapted from its original publication in a Better Homes and Garden Christmas cookie magazine.
Mix flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a food processor. Scrape pulp from a vanilla bean with the tip of a knife, add to dry ingredients, and pulse until combined. Add butter, and pulse on and off until mixture begins to cling. Gather mixture into a ball. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Roll cookies in vanilla sugar while they are still warm.
Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape pulp with the tip of a knife. Mix pulp into two cups of granulated sugar. Bury scraped bean in sugar and secure tightly with a lid. Let sit for one to two weeks.