Vanilla Pretzel Cookies ~ a crisp little butter cookie loaded with vanilla beans and topped with sparkly coarse sugar in a fun festive shape!
Ho ho ho! Here we go! Let the holiday baking begin 🙂 Did you get up before dawn and go out with the masses to do all your holiday shopping? Or did you stay home and put up your Christmas tree? I’m decorating and staying in! I’m more of a cyber Monday kind-of shopper anyway. And why leave the warm house to battle crazy shoppers when there’s leftover turkey to be eaten?
I started baking a little early this year and have four new cookie recipes to share. We’re starting with these Vanilla Pretzel Cookies which are so cute and fun to make! The dough freezes well for up to 2 weeks, then bake when ready to share. These are the kind of cookies everyone loves. They’re not messy, gooey or over the top sweet, they travel well and have a nice crunch without being dry.
These Vanilla Pretzel Cookies are adapted from a recipe by America’s Test Kitchen. The thing that fascinated me most about this recipe, is that it’s made with a hard boiled egg yolk instead of raw. Apparently this is a traditional French ingredient /method which helps eliminate excess moisture thus giving the cookies their perfect sandy texture.
The dough is a dream to work with and these little pretzel shapes are super easy to make.
Can’t you just picture a tin of these cookies wrapped up with a bow for your favorite neighbor, boss or best friend? So fun and super delicious!
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- 1 large egg
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (heaping)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water
- 1/4 cup coarse white sugar such as turbinado. I used Organic White Sugar in the Raw
- Place the egg in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat then remove from the heat, cover and rest for 10 minutes. Fill a small bowl with ice water and set aside. Remove the egg from the pan and place in the ice water bath. Allow the egg to cool for 5 minutes. Crack and remove the peel. Remove the yolk and discard the white. Press the yolk through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the butter, granulated sugar, and salt to the cooked egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another minute.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla bean paste and mix until blended. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until combined. With a rubber spatula, press the dough together in a cohesive mass.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log 6 inches long. The diameter should be about 1 3/4 inches. Wrap each log in parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. The dough will not be hard but firm enough to handle without being sticky.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a large thin knife (chef's knife), slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Separate each of the rounds on the parchment paper. Roll each disc of dough into a ball, then roll into 6 inch long ropes. Form each rope into the pretzel shape and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg white mixture over the tops of each cookie, then sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the centers are pale golden brown and the edges slightly darker. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool (or if using a rimless baking sheet, slide the parchment with cookies onto the cooling rack) Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen
Finally, here are a few more cookies recipes you might like:
- Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
- Almond Butter Sticks
- Spicy Molasses Cookies ~ from Seasons & Suppers
- Holiday Sugar Cookies and DIY Colored Sugar ~ from The View from Great Island
Happy shopping, decorating, baking and whatever else you’re up to this weekend! Thanks so much for stopping by!