Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Salted Vanilla Cookies

I have to admit, I don’t make cookies very often.  I mean, I like cookies, but when it comes to desserts there are bigger players I’m more interested in.  The decision to make these was made, however, the moment I decided to make vanilla salt.  Salted vanilla cookies, made with salted butter and topped off with  just a sprinkle of vanilla salt, have been the cookie that makes me crave cookies.

We spent this past weekend in Virginia with family.  On Saturday we attended our niece Meredith’s holiday dance recital.  It was amazing partially because Meredith has wildly improved in her tap dancing abilities since last year’s recital and partially because dance recitals are the most hilarious thing ever. It was a pretty awesome way to spend a Saturday.

On Sunday we attended the baptism of our youngest niece, Amelie.  It was a beautiful ceremony, completely touching to see.  All in all it was a great weekend full of ballerinas, snuggles, and glitter.  It was the perfect kick off to Christmas week and made me even more thankful to have nieces and such a loving family.

Me & Amelie (left), Meredith (right)

Salted Vanilla Cookies

Makes 4 dozen cookies (halve recipe for 2 dozen)

1 cup sugar

4 sticks (2 cups) butter, room temperature

3 cups flour

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla salt (plus more for topping)

2 tsps vanilla extract

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Add in eggs, one at a time.  Add in vanilla.

Mix until fully incorporated.  Add in flour, a little at a time, mixing until it has formed a soft ball.  Roll out a sheet of parchment paper.  Form the dough into a long tube on the parchment paper.  Roll the paper up around the tube and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge.  It should be solid and cold.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350.  Slice the cookies 1/2″ thick.  Sprinkle (lightly) with vanilla salt.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

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Oh, the Holidays

Christmas is like, next week.  I know, I’m freaking out too.  In this season of creepy diamond commercials and overspending I wanted to take the opportunity to remind you of two things.  1. B&S, this very website, has a store.  Not full of plastic toys and crap that will break 24 hours after Christmas but of real, sturdy, hearty products that I recommend from the bottom of my heart.  2.  In this time of cooking and overserving, we also have a Guide to Holiday Eating.  It’s by far our best yet.

I’ll leave you with those thoughts and a photograph of the country’s first monument to George Washington, all decorated for the Holidays.  Hope your season is as snowy and magical as you’d like it to be.

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Vanilla Salt

This was a bad week. Actually, the past two weeks have been bad, which is why last week, for the first time in a very long time, there was not a new post in this little corner of the internet. It’s nothing major, just a lot of little stresses at work and at home that built up and, when combined with the cold, my new desire to be a runner (a dubious plan), and the short hours I just… needed to check out. I did a lot of snuggling with Dan, we exchanged a few early Christmas presents, and I began planning 2011. Today we had absolutely nothing to do so we stayed in bed forever, baked cookies and made apple butter, took ourselves out for lunch, and had a dance party in the kitchen. It was much needed. And, as always, I am very lucky to have such a wonderful husband.

My big present to Dan this year was the Playstation Move. We’ve only had it a week and so far we both love it!*

This week’s recipe is something that came just in time for our holiday baking- vanilla salt. First off, I have a confession to make. I am a salt addict. I buy either kosher or sea salt so it comes in big crystals and in addition to adding it to flavor a dish, I love to sprinkle it on just about everything for an extra punch. Lately my breakfast of choice has been a toasted bagel or piece of toast with herb butter and a dash of salt. So simple, yet nothing seems to be as delicious lately as that burst of salt.

Today’s salt shout out goes to vanilla salt. A mixture of pure vanilla and kosher salt, this has already proved delicious on top of sugar cookies and salmon alike. I see a future for this on top of caramels, steaks, and (of course) toast. You’ll love it, as will anyone you decide to share it with this holiday season.

For Christmas this year Dan gave me a (beautiful) new bike(!) equipped with basket and bell! All it needs are fenders and I’ll be cruising in style. And a paint job. It has crackle paint on it.

Outside my love for salt (and other things that will ultimately kill me) I have some good news and some bad news. Or, depending on what day of the week it is, two exciting pieces of news. On the one hand, B&S was named one of the “Top Southern Style American Cuisine Blogs,” something that we found to be incredibly flattering. We’ve been getting a lot of incredible press lately and I can’t say thank you more sincerely. It means the world to me, especially on the bad days. The other hand, however, is the news that my iVillage column, From Arugula to Ziti, that has been published weekly in their Food News section since November of last year, has been cancelled. Something about budget cuts and the recession (and maybe the big sale to Comcast). I have mixed emotions about it. I’ve enjoyed writing it and it has been a great outlet for writing about the things that don’t fit on B&S. However, with all the little projects we’ve got going on it had begun to take its toll and I was a little relieved when I got the news. Plus, this will just allow a window to open for other, more exciting, activities.

*Playstation has no idea who I am, they definitely neither sponsored this post nor gave me a free Playstation Move. But Dan and I are killing it in virtual bocce.

Vanilla Salt

1/4 cup kosher or sea salt

1 vanilla bean

Scrape out the insides of one vanilla bean. Mix with salt. Store in an airtight container. Sprinkle on everything to add deliciousness.

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