These Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies have both vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds, and they are rolled in vanilla sugar making them super intensely vanilla. They have lots of sugar and an added egg yolk which makes them extra rich, the best combination for a great cookie.
Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Beans and Vanilla Sugar
I have found that the best place to buy vanilla extract is at Costco. You can get a large bottle for around $10 that will last you all year long, if not more. It is way less expensive per volume than what you can get at a regular grocery store. Using 2 teaspoons worth of vanilla extract adds strength to the vanilla flavor.
Vanilla beans are extremely expensive, but they are also an incredible ingredient. My favorite dessert on earth is a simple (not too sweet) vanilla bean ice cream. Nothing beats it in my book. Using vanilla beans with these cookies makes them super intense, flavorful, and dreamy. Almost like a creamy vanilla ice cream.
If vanilla beans are in your budget, they are amazing. But if it doesn’t make the cut, these cookies will be great without it too, especially with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
To remove the vanilla bean seeds from the vanilla bean itself, use a small paring knife to cut a slit lengthwise along the bean and gently open the bean and scrape out the seeds with the knife. Add to the batter.
To make the vanilla sugar, combine the sugar and vanilla extract, stirring and mashing. Roll the dough in the vanilla sugar. This gives the cookie even MORE vanilla flavor and a nice crinkly slightly crunchy exterior. They’ll look a little extra sparkly and festive. If you’re short on time, however, feel free to skep this step.
Notes on Other Ingredients in Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies:
Granulated Sugar: These vanilla bean sugar cookies use only granulated sugar. It is simple and sweet.
Baking Soda: baking soda is necessary to ensure that these cookies have that nice crinkly look and texture. Without it, the cookies would be poofy and look very different (though still taste great).
Extra Egg Yolk: This recipe includes one whole egg and an extra egg yolk which gives that extra richness in flavor. I’ve made these with and without the extra egg yolk and you can really taste the difference when the extra egg yolk is added.
Refrigerating the Dough
You can absolutely refrigerate the dough, but it is not necessary. You can keep it simple and put the cookies straight into the oven.
If you do refrigerate the dough, the cookies will have a slightly thicker and chewier texture, and the flavors will meld together more. They can be refrigerated for 30 minutes or overnight. If you plan to refrigerate the dough, make the balls of dough and place them on a plate covered in plastic wrap in the fridge. Then take them out of the fridge, place on a baking sheet and bake for 11 minutes (rather than 9) at 350℉.
Portioning the Dough
Portion out 2 tbsp worth of dough for each cookie. This makes 26 cookies. You can either do this with your hands, or using two small spoons – one to scoop and the other to help shape into a round ball, or with a cookie/ice cream scoop.
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies FAQs:
The cookies are done after 9 minutes. They will look slightly underdone in the middle. This is perfect, don’t wait until they look fully cooked to pull them out. They should still be a little soft and look a little underbaked in the middle. They will continue to cook and firm up on the pan when you take them out.
Yes, you can freeze this vanilla bean sugar cookie dough. Shape into balls and places in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware. To bake, either bring them to room temperature or if baking directly from frozen bake for an extra 1-2 minutes (12-13 minutes total).
Cookies flatten because either they do not have enough flour, the butter is too soft or melted, there is not enough baking powder, or the proportion of sugar is too high compared with the rest of the ingredients.
The biggest reason cookies become poofy is because there is too much flour. In small batch recipes it may be because you added egg white, instead of only egg yolk. Another reason is that the butter was too cold and not at room temperature. Not enough baking soda also leads to cookies that are too poofy. The baking soda helps the dough to spread out and gives it that crinkly cookies texture.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below or tag a photo on instagram! Your feedback means a lot.
Looking for more cookie recipes? Check these out:
Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies: Thick chewy oversized chocolate chip cookies loaded with tons of chopped chocolate.
Small Batch Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies: Super crispy chocolate chip cookies that makes only 12 cookies, for when a whole batch is just too much.
White Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies: Thick and bakery style cookies loaded with white chocolate chips and crunchy salted pretzels, a great combo.
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 vanilla beans
- 2½ cups flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
Vanilla Sugar (optional)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- In a large bowl combine the softened butter and granulated sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise and use a small sharp knife to scrape out the seeds from inside the beans. Add the seeds to the batter and stir to combine.
- Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour and combine.
- Roll the dough into balls with 2 tbsps of dough each.
- In a small bowl add ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ tsp vanilla extract. Stir and mash with a small spoon to combine.
- Roll each ball of dough in the vanilla sugar. Place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 9 minutes.