I have a horrible confession. Ever since I decided to quit my job and work from home, I have been a victim of the never-take-off-my-yoga-pants illness. Yes it’s true, while Andrew gets dressed like a proper individual, the first thing I do in the morning is slide into these beauties, and twist my hair into a top knot. I often remain like that all day and night long. Eeek. Terrible. Guilt. Shame. Comfort. Stretchy. Love. ♡
Alright, confessing that to you made me feel like a guilty cookie maker, and I had to stop writing and go put on skinny jeans and my favourite strawberry printed converses, so I too could feel like a proper work attired individual… Really, this is what I used to wear to my office job as art director, soooo professional. Regardless if you are addicted to yoga pants, if you prefer jeans, or if you are one of those really impressive people who wear suits, I think we can all agree on one thing. Cookies!
Classic shortbreads are one of my favourite cookies. It’s like the ultimate grandma cookie, and let me tell you, those grandmas knew what they were doing. So simple, so buttery, fall-apart, melt in your mouth goodness. Not only that, but it only takes 4 ingredients to make these bad boys!
If you are new to using vanilla beans, don’t you worry, it’s super simple. These days you can find them in almost any grocery store next to the vanilla extract. They are usually sold in long tubes, or in little boxes (usually containing a long tube). They can be a tad pricey, so if you ever see them on sale, grab ’em! They smell and taste amazing, and they leave the signature little black specks that scream vanilla flavour.
Look it’s the leaning tower of cookies-a! Er, ok, wearing jeans doesn’t help with professionalism. Onto making the shortbreads.
To get the vanilla beans from the vanilla bean pod, the first thing you are going to is smell the deliciousness of that vanilla bean! Ok that is not at all necessary, but it just smells so damn good. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, so you can open it up. If your bean is hard and a little dried out, try soaking it in warm water first, so it is easier to work with. Now use the tip of your knife to scrape out all of those little black seeds. Those are what you are looking for. Add them to you mixing bow with the sugar and vegan butter. Try to get as much out of the vanilla bean pod as you can.
If you are doing the mixing by hand, I don’t own a mixer, (hint, hint Kitchen Aid, if you are reading this) then you might want to melt the vegan butter slightly first. If you are using a mixer, then you probably don’t have to worry about that. Whisk the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together.
Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth and lightens in colour.
Now mix in the flour 1/2 a cup at a time. For the last 1/2 cup you will need to switch to a spoon instead of a whisk. The mixture should be a crumbly dough that holds together when you pinch it.
Dump the dough into a pan. My dish was 10″ x 6.5″ but a 8″ x 8″ pan would work fine as well. Press the dough down with your hands so that it is flat and even in the pan. You can use a spatula or any other tool to help flatten the cookies. Now use the tip of the spatula or a knife and score the cut lines of the cookies, at least 1/8″ deep. Now just grab a fork and prick the cookies all over.
Pop them in your oven, and bake until they are just kissed with a touch of golden. If you want extra sweetness you can sprinkle a little granulated sugar across the top of the cookies when you remove them from the oven. Let the cookies cool, and then snap them apart along the scored lines. You can use a knife if you prefer but mine snapped apart easily and cleanly. Now put the kettle on, get out your knitting project, and enjoy your shortbread!
- 1 Cup Vegan Butter (such as Earth Balance)
- ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Vanilla Bean or 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract* (or both if you want extra vanilla flavour)
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- Preheat your oven to 325F (170C).
- In a large mixing bowl, add the vegan butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. I softened the vegan butter a bit before adding it to the bowl, since I mixed this by hand. If you have a mixer, you can probably skip this step.
- Slice the vanilla bean down the side lengthwise. If your bean is hard and a little dried out, try soaking it in warm water first, so it is easier to work with. Use the tip of your knife to scape out all the little black vanilla bean seeds. Add these to the bowl with the powdered sugar and vegan butter.
- Cream the vegan butter and sugar together until the mixture is smooth and light in colour.
- Mix in ½ cup of the flour at a time. The final texture should be crumbly, but holds together if you pinch it.
- Dump the dough into a pan. I used a 10" x 6.5" pan, but an 8" x 8" pan will work as well.
- Press the dough down so that it is flat. You can use a spatula, or any other object you might find to help flatten the surface. Now use the tip of a spatula, or a knife to score the lines of your bars. Make sure these lines are about ⅛" deep or more. Now use a fork to prick the bars all over. (I did four fork pricks per cookie).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are just kissed with a touch of golden colour.
- Remove from oven and let cool. For extra sweetness you can sprinkle a little granulated sugar across the top of the cookies when you remove them from the oven, (this is optional). When they are cool, pop them out of the pan, then you can just snap the bars apart along the score line. You could also use a knife to cut them, but I found they snap apart just perfectly.
- Serve along with tea. Yum!
Featured Ingredient: Vanilla Bean. 46 days, 28 recipes to go!