Lifestyle expert Ross Sveback shows you how to create easy, delicious vanilla bean cutout cookies perfect for Halloween shapes and an easy crust for autumn pies.
Vanilla-Bean Cutout Cookies
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter – room temperature/softened
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) butter-flavored shortening
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder – set aside. Use an electric mixer to cream together butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Add eggs to combine, then baking powder and salt. Add 1 cup of the flour mixture at a time until combined, scrape bottom of bowl to make sure all ingredients are included. Do not over mix or your dough will be come tough.
At this point I split the dough in half and roll between to silpat mats to 1/4″ thick (I roll them thicker because they do not bubble so easily), place on rimmed baking sheet and place it in the freezer for ten minutes to set. The point in using Silpat mats is to not add any additional flour to my dough as well as that the dough will not stick to the silpat making rolling out easier. Remove rolled dough from freezer and remove the top silpat mat. Place cookie cutters in positions on dough, starting from the edge and moving inward to get the most cookies out of your roll. Remove the extra dough – not cookies and I place these back in the freezer.
This is when I start my oven to 350 degrees. If using the gray non-stick pans, lower your oven temperature 15-25 degrees depending on your oven. The mantra in cookie/pie/dough making is ‘make it cold, bake it hot', this process makes the cookies crisp.
I repeat this step with the second half of dough, and place the extra dough in a ball and roll that out again for more cookies. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes (maybe more) depending again on your oven, and try to be conscious to flip your baking sheet half way through the baking process. You will know your cookies are done when the start to lightly brown on the edge. I pull them out of the oven and let them sit without touching them for 10 minutes as I slightly under bake mine so they are more chewy.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter – diced
2 tbsp water.
In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and salt until combined – then add diced butter and pulse until butter is in small, pea-sized pieces. Drizzle water over mixture and then pulse until mixture holds together. Form into a ball and place on a silpat, flatten into a round disc and then place a second silpat on top and using a french rolling pin, roll into a 12″ circle and place into a 9″ pie pan trimming edge and finishing/crimping to your desire. Use a form to prick holes in bottom and place in refrigerator while you make filling to chill.
For more lifestyle tips, recipes, decor and more, visit http://www.rosssveback.com