Last week, I tried making macarons for our tea party. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to make pretty macarons with out a piping bag (Note to self: buy a piping bag this weekend). As a result, my macarons weren’t picture worthy. Sigh.
Fortunately, I awoke in the middle of the night and thought “I’ll make sugar cookies instead“. By 7:30 am the next morning, I had my kitchen aide going and cookie dough in my mixing bowl. Please tell me I’m not the only one making cookies before breakfast. I may need psychiatric help, or a strict diet plan.
I decided to mix things up a little bit and instead of cream cheese frosting, I made vanilla bean buttercream frosting. I hate to say this, but cream cheese frosting and I may be splitting up for awhile.
INGREDIENTS (for the cookies)
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS (for the cookies)
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and almond extract until combined.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until smooth. Wrap dough in heavy-duty plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with assorted cookie cutters and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill dough 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
INGREDIENTS (for frosting)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
DIRECTIONS (for the frosting)
Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Next, add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the buttercream and fold with a spatula until fully incorporated. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 1 month.