Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saffron Vanilla Cookies

Sometimes it can be hard to stop folding laundry, cleaning the house, or just living. You forget to  look outside and enjoy just a minute of time to enjoy the sunset, or the way that the front yard actually looks pretty this time of year. It can be hard to stop and remind yourself that life is pretty darn dang good. It can also be hard to stop, and to do something for yourself, or someone else, and... just... make... cookies. Cookies are one of those sweet circular things that always makes me happy. And these little guys are filled with sunshine, well actually saffron, which makes them nutty and warm and complex. Kinda like life. 
 Get the ingredients going. 
 Saffron is the crown jewel in this bunch. I used about 30 or so small threads and then crushed them up using a mortar and pestle. The finer the powder the more intense the saffron flavor. If you are shy on the stuff you can always use less.
 Vanilla bean meets, milk and is simmered with the saffron. A work of art in your kitchen.
 All whisked together. The vanilla bean pod is removed.
 The bright yellow dough is mixed with the flour and butter until just combined. 
 Scooped out ready to go. 

These are best enjoyed warm out of the oven with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They are also wonderful at room temp and can be stored in an airtight container for about 5 days. My co-workers thought the flavor was interesting and the color of the cookie was fun. 

Saffron Vanilla Cookies

about 30 threads of saffron (to yield about 1/8 teaspoon of mushed saffron) 
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons milk ( I used 1% as that was all I had in the house)
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crush the saffron with a mortar and pestle until powdery. The finer the powder the more intense the saffron flavor. 

Split a vanilla bean in half and scrape the out the seeds into a small saucepan. Add the vanilla pod, milk and saffron and cook on low heat until it just begins to bubble and foam at the edges. Cover and let the milk steep for about 10 minutes. 

Add the flour and baking soda to a medium bowl. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachments, beat the butter on low speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix of medium speed until light and fluffy for 4-5 minutes.

Remove the vanilla pod from the milk. In a medium bowl combine the milk mixture, egg and vanilla and whisk until well blended.  With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs mixture very slowly, and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 30 more seconds, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until uniform in texture. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and remigrate for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out dough into 2 tablespoon portions and place them on a baking sheet, spacing at least 2 minutes apart. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, but not too dark, rotating the pan mid-way during the baking process. 

Remove the cookies from the oven. They are best eaten warm, shortly after baking. The cookies can be stored for about 3-4 days at room temperature in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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