When I was recently walking down an aisle at Target, I stopped in my tracks when I saw the word “bake” in giant red letters on the latest holiday issue of my favorite magazine, “bake from scratch.” I couldn’t fathom having to wait until I got home to go through it — so I plopped down on the thin metal shelving (you know the ones with the little holes in them?) and started flipping through. Within minutes I’d picked out the first few recipes I was going to be baking first. And this one was among them.
My photos above honestly do not do justice to these cookies. Brian Hoffman’s magazine had them photographed beautifully, as perfect white snowflake cookies, as opposed to my heart, stars and leaves. I have since bought a snowflake cookie cutter. So cute. Anyway, the recipe also used fresh vanilla beans which they flicked on at the end of the bake, rather than my vanilla bean paste which was mixed in with the icing. Both are beautiful, but if you ever get a chance to go through that magazine, it’s worth a look to see the variation.
It’s such a fun recipe to make. Who doesn’t love baking sugar cookies in different shapes? And these are sophisticated with the salted component and the fancy vanilla bean flecks. A note on both. The “salted” comes from the salted butter used. As is mentioned in my “about” section on abeebakes, I always use salted butter. Ultimately, I’m not entirely convinced salted should be in the title, unless you flick a few grains of coarse or flaked salt on the icing (at the end before they set). Salt to taste and go with your preference. Also, as mentioned, you can use either freshly scraped vanilla beans or stir in vanilla bean paste. And you can use any cookie cutter or shape you want. I really liked their snowflake so that’d be a great place to start.
They really are beautiful little cookies, to satisfy any festive occasion this holiday season. The bake from scratch magazine is really an amazing resource for all things baking.