LUCY BURDETTE: First things first: Hayley Snow and Miss Gloria and all the Key West characters wish you Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, and Happy New Year. Having you as readers is the best gift we could possibly receive!
Now on to the cookies...A couple of years ago, Annie Knox posted what has become my favorite Christmas cookie recipe. But this year was the first year I actually tried working with a vanilla bean. And I also added good chocolate to half the batter, and reduced the salt. These little gems freeze well both baked and unbaked, so you can take them out to use for company nibbling as needed – or nibbling yourself!
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
One scant teaspoon salt (reduced from Annie's recipe)
Three egg yolks
The innards of half a vanilla bean
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup good-quality cocoa (I used Penzey's)
Decorations for the top (I used sugar in the raw for sprinkles)
Place the butter, sugar, and salt into a mixer bowl and cream until well blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each. Scrape in the contents of half vanilla bean, and mix that in too.
Add the flour to the bowl and mix only until combined. Don't get too vigorous or you will risk tough cookies. Remove half of the dough, and mix the chocolate into the other half. I personally liked the slight marbling effect and would do more of that next time. Roll the dough into four logs, wrap these in parchment or wax paper and refrigerate from two hours to several days.
Preheat the oven to 325. Slice the cookie dough rolls into half-inch thick rounds, dip them into sugar or sprinkles if you were using them, and place them on a nonstick pan, or one covered with parchment.
Bake about 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. Cool and serve or freeze.
Are you still frozen about stocking stuffers? Cozy mysteries are the perfect size, and bring hours of enjoyment!
(Here's my Pinterest board with tons of suggestions...) And because it's the season of giving, I'm giving away one of these books--your choice! Leave a comment telling us about your favorite holiday cookie or treat--and your email...