vanilla bean

YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Custard (and Classic Creme Brûlée!)

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

For close to a decade, I’ve been telling people near and far that my favorite dessert is ice cream. And that is, in some ways, true; ice cream offers the creamy texture and endless flavor options that makes enjoying dessert just the best. But lately, I’ve started to realize that my favorite isn’t ice cream- it’s the ever-adaptive, always delightful custard. Custard, if you don’t know, is a star component to a million different recipes, and so many of them are my favorite. Today, I’m going to teach you how to make custard, and you can flex those new skills with a classic creme brulée. Let’s get started!

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO I MAKE IT?

So what is custard? In general, custard is a milk-based mixture often sweetened with sugar and thickened with eggs. Different spices, extracts, and other flavorings add in to create different flavors. While all custards tend to have the basic skeleton of eggs, milk, and sugar, there are a few different ways custards can be prepared.

Baked Custard

Baked custard is, as you can imagine, baked! If you’ve ever made a custard pie (like this one!), a bread pudding, or a creme brûlée, you’ve made a baked custard. Here, ingredients stir together, either in a bowl or over the stovetop, before baking until set.

There are a number of ways to make a baked custard. In some cases, all of the liquid ingredients stir together with sugar, salt, and sometimes a thickener like starch or flour. Then, that liquid mixture pours into vessels (as with creme brûlée and custard pies) or over chunks of bread, as is the case with bread pudding. Baked custards generally prefer moderate heat, in large part, due to the eggs; eggs that are heated too much can curdle and cause quite a mess. In addition, water baths are often used to offer insulation to the custard while it’s in the oven. As the custard bakes, it sets, becoming even more firm as it cools.

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

Stirred Custard

My husband’s favorite kind of custard is a stirred one. Why? Because he LOVES pudding. Pudding desserts, pastry cream and most ice creams start out as stirred custards. Here, sugar dissolves in warm milk or cream before being slowly added to eggs or egg yolks. That mixture is allowed to thicken over heat on the stovetop before cooling for use.

To make a stirred custard, we start with the dairy. Milk heats on the stovetop, often with sugar, a thickening agent, or even cocoa powder and other flavorings, until the sugar is dissolved. Once combined and smooth, the warm milk mixture is carefully added to the eggs or egg yolks. Remember- the eggs are prone to curdling here! Take care to prevent this by adding the milk little bit little and stirring all the while. Once the mixtures are combined, the custard is returned to the heat where it is stirred at a low temperature until thickened to the appropriate consistency. The custard then cools in the fridge until set.

Other Custards

There are a number of other ways to make custards (think gelatin! whipped cream!), but for today, we will focus on baked and stirred custards. You can research “gelatin custards” online to learn more.

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

HELPFUL HINTS FOR MAKING CUSTARD

Combining Ingredients

Most custards call for combing warm milk and uncooked eggs. This is one of the most important steps of the process, because, if done incorrectly, the custard can curdle. Take care to combine these two ingredients slowly by tempering them. You can temper custard by slowly adding small, 2-3 tablespoon-sized portions of hot liquid to your egg mixture, whisking all the while. In doing so, you gradually increase the temperature of the eggs without technically cooking them.

If you fear you’ve curdled your eggs while combing the eggs and warm milk, don’t fret. Simply run your mixture through a fine sieve to eliminate any clumps. If your mixture has curdled, you’ll see what looks like scrambled egg pieces in your stainer!

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

How to Tell if It’s Done

This is a tricky part of the process. As always, I recommend reading through the entire recipe prior to beginning the cooking process. Know what you are looking for! In the case of baked custards, recipes will often call for a jiggle test. Here, you gently wiggle the custard dish. Baked goods that are not at all done will wave like a water bed under its entire surface. Partially cooked custards may have edges that only wiggle like Jell-O while having a center that still appears liquidy under the surface. But custards that are cooked just right have edges that are mostly set with a center that wobbles like Jell-O. In the case of bread puddings or pies, you may see some slight puffing happen as the dish nears doneness.

With stirred custards, we often use the spoon test! Insert a large metal or wooden into the cooked mixture and carefully run a finger down the back of it. For most “done” stirred custards, the mixture will coat the back of the spoon and you’ll see a line parting where your finger ran through it. You can also examine the consistency of the custard. In the case of puddings, the mixture will be slightly thickened but loose, similar to a bottled ranch dressing. For pudding pies, I like my custard to have the texture of loose mayonnaise, just barely thick enough to spoon.

Making a Water Bath

Water baths are one of those things a lot of people try to skip. While I can’t explain all the ins and outs of a water bath, I will tell you that I use them implicitly when called for. So what it is? A water bath, often called a bain marie, is a little a pool of hot water that you bake your custard in. In general, the custards are added to their dish (i.e. ramekins for creme brûlée, a springform pan for a cheesecake) while water heats on the stove. We then place the custard dish into a larger vessel (a baking dish or some other rimmed oven-safe pan) before carefully pouring in an inch of hot water. The water should just barely extend up the sides of the custard dish.

My research tells me that water baths exist for one reason: to prevent the outside of the custard from over-cooking before the inside gets cooked. It also can help to moisten the top of the custard with water steam and prevent the custard from cracking.

To make a water bath, I recommend heating water in a tea kettle. If you don’t have a tea kettle, just be sure you are warming your water in a pan you can safely transfer water from.

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A CUSTARD

Honey, the world is your oyster. Custards are added to all sorts of recipes in all sorts of forms to add creamy texture, moisture, and flavor. Thin custards like creme anglaise often pour over desserts like soufflés (which is also technically a custard, btw!). Pastry cream is a thickened custard that chills before being piped or layered into desserts like profiteroles and (one of my favorites) mille-feuille. Stirred custard can also be chilled and churned into frozen custard– truly, God’s gift to earth. And don’t forget, pudding, pudding pies, and curds; these stovetop delights make for a delicious dessert all on their own.

Basically, if the main ingredients are eggs, milk, and sugar, there’s a good chance you’re working with a custard! Once you know how to properly prepare a custard, you can flavor and add it to any number of desserts. I’m going to list a few of my favorite Wood & Spoon custard desserts below. Then, we’ll get to the creme brûlée!

Brown Butter Bourbon Chess Pie
Blueberry Mascarpone Ice Cream
Chocolate Budino
Creamy Rice Pudding
Southern Coconut Cream Pie
Coffee Donuts
Caramelized Banana Pudding
Chocolate Pudding Pie
Coconut Cream Pie Puffs
Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
Brown Sugar Buttermilk Tart

Classic Creme Brûlée

Who doesn’t love a creme brûlée? I recently took my daughter out for a fancy dinner with a friend, and she tried this classic dessert for the first time. Her reaction was, obviously, awe. She ate more than her share, and I regretted not ordering two.

While creme brûlée’s origin is debated (is it French? English?), it now lives forever in my heart. This creamy, baked dessert requires little but quality vanilla and a crunchy torched top. I like to serve mine with a smidge of whipped cream and fresh fruit, but you can pick your poison. Whatever you do, make sure you serve the dessert just after bruleeing the top- otherwise, your crunchy burnt sugar will dissolve and puddle on your dessert.

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com

A note on bruleeing: there’s a couple different ways to do it. If you’re lucky enough to own a kitchen torch, congrats! This is my preferred method. Not only does torching provide the most controlled method of bruleeing, but it also makes for a great party trick. Alternatively, you can brûlée your dessert under a preheated broiler. This may be preferred if you’re serving bulk amounts of creme brûlée or if you don’t have fancy kitchen equipment. Simply preheat your broiler, sprinkle the tops of your custards with a bit of sugar, and bake on the top rack of the oven until just beyond golden brown. Be careful removing them from the oven and wait a minute or two before eating.

Ok, that’s all I have on creme brûlée and custards. For now, happy Saturday and happy baking!

Cooking Tutorial: Learn How to Make Custard and Homemade Creme Brûlée! This recipe instructional by Wood and Spoon gives instruction on the different types of custards, how to make them, and a simple, straight-forward recipes for vanilla bean creme brûlée. This elegant dessert is great for dinner parties and can be semi-made-ahead. Read all about this classic French dessert on thewoodandspoon.com
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YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Custard (and Classic Creme Brûlée!)

This classic creme brûlée is a creamy custard with a crunchy, bruleed top!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 180
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for topping the custards 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Pour the heavy cream into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Split the vanilla bean down the middle, using a paring knife to carefully scrape the insides into the cream. Add the empty bean shell as well. Place the saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low once simmering and simmer, whisking regularly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool an additional 10 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  3. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a bowl. Set an 8 or 9” baking dish off to the side. These will be used for your water bath.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the salt, yolks, and 1/3 cup sugar. Once the cream has cooled  slightly, remove the vanilla bean pod and use a heat-safe measuring cup to pour in just a bit of the heated cream into the yolk mixture, stirring all the while. Note: it’s important to not add too much cream too fast- the heat from the cream could cook and curdle the eggs. Scoop out some more cream and quickly whisk that into the eggs as well. Return all the egg/cream mixture back to the saucepan and whisk to combine. 
  5. Strain the mixture into 4- 6 ounce ramekins. Place them into the baking dish and carefully pour the boiling water from the tea kettle into the pan, creating a “bath” for the ramekins to sit in. The water should reach halfway up the ramekins. Carefully place the baking dish into the oven and bake the custards about 40 minutes or until it jiggles slightly in the center when you gently shake them. Do not allow them to overbake- this could cause the custard to curdle. Once finished, cool slightly prior to chilling, covered, in the fridge about 4-6 hours.
  6. When ready to enjoy, remove the custards from the fridge. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon sugar on top of each custard. Use a kitchen torch or a preheated broiler to cook the top of the sugar until golden. When using the torch, hold the flame about 5” above the ramekins. Slowly cook the sugar, passing the flame over the custard, until golden. For the broiler, simply place the ramekins on a baking pan and broil on the top shelf of the oven until golden, about 2 minutes. Alllow to cool 1-2 minutes before enjoying. 

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Warm Apple Tea

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I think most of us need that morning cup of something. Whether it be coffee, tea, or even a ritual AM smoothie, our mornings taste better with a drink that will start us off on the right foot. Today I’m sharing this simple recipe for warm apple tea, and I have a feeling it’s going to make your mornings a whole lot sweeter.

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I’ve been incredibly blessed with two (and a half!) really easy pregnancies. The first trimester usually brings an onslaught of morning sickness and yawning and bloating, but I’m otherwise in the clear. Aside from a few out of the norm food cravings (I’m looking at you, sausage egg and cheese biscuits), the only really strange thing that happens to me early on in every pregnancy is that I suddenly can’t tolerate coffee. Although I’m normally a devout morning coffee drinker, the smell, the taste, and even just looking at my French press doesn’t settle with me at all those first few weeks of pregnancy. Thankfully, now that I’m on my way into the second trimester this aversion is mostly gone, but for a month or two I survived the mornings solely because of tea.

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Warm Apple Tea

This warm apple tea is just the type of thing I would have reached for. Lightly caffeinated, quick to make, and completely free of any scent of java, this warm apple tea is the perfect beverage to cozy up to during our chilliest weeks of the year. This beverage is infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, with just a touch of lemon added for balance. While I’ve mainly enjoyed it as a morning sip, this is a perfect little beverage to serve in the afternoon to fireside friends and your other favorite couch loungers.  Let’s chat about how to make it.

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Making the Tea

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine a few cups of Red Diamond Sweet Tea with one roughly chopped apple, a cinnamon stick, and 1/2 of a vanilla bean. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer over low heat for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to rest on the burner so that all of the flavors meld. Give the mixture a taste after about 10 minutes, resting longer if you want stronger flavor. Pour your desired amount of apple tea into a heat-safe glass and finish it off with a bit of lemon juice.

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

This drink is perfectly sweetened with flavors jumping out at you from all sides. Although I have preferred to enjoy it warm, you can easily chill the mixture for an iced-down daytime beverage! It batches nicely, so be sure to make a few servings at a time to reheat all week long. Just take care to strain the fruit, cinnamon, and vanilla bean pods out of the liquid.

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Give this warm apple tea a try and be sure to check out Red Diamond Ready to Drink Sweet Tea! As a Southern transplant, I’ve learned my way around sweet tea, and this is one brand that I can trust. They provide quality, real ingredients with consistent flavor. If you’re craving more tea recipes, be sure to check out the sweet tea hot toddy I recently created! It’s another warm drink, just a little boozier. Enjoy, friends!

Warm Apple Tea recipe by wood and spoon blog. This is a sweet tea based winter beverage infused with fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and served with lemon. This drink feels like a caffeinated cider, warm and toasty, the perfect beverage for chilly mornings. This is made with ready to drink Red Diamond sweet tea and can be refrigerated and served cold as well. Make a large batch and reheat all week long! Find this alternative to coffee and hot tea recipe on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

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Warm Apple Tea

This warm apple tea is made from refrigerated sweet tea infused with fresh apple, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon! Serve it warm or chilled!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 1-2
  • Category: Beverage

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480 gm) ready to drink sweet tea
  • 1 large apple, roughly chopped (I prefer a tart baking apple)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ vanilla bean, cut open, or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste/extract
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine the tea, apple, cinnamon, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the burner for all the flavors to infuse together. Take a taste test after 10 minutes and pour into a glass if you’re satisfied with the level of spice from the cinnamon. If not, allow to it sit for another 5-10 minutes. Squeeze some lemon juice into your prepared tea and enjoy! This recipe batches nicely, so feel free to double or triple the recipe, strain out the fruit, cinnamon, and vanilla, and reheat as desired. Beverage can also be chilled and served over ice.

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Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies and How To Gold-Splatter Sugar Cookies!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood and Abby Hollar of The Hollardays Blog. This is a simple recipe for homemade cutout sugar cookies flavored with dried lavender and vanilla bean paste. The icing is simple and dries quick and doesn't require a piping bag or tip like Royal icing. The gold lustre luster dust is mixed with alcohol to create a shiny metallic paint that you can splatter on your cookies with a basting brush. Find the tutorial and how to paint cookies on thewoodandspoon.com

This past week on “Real Housewives of Alabama,” Kate drove to the big city, hopped a plane to Orlando, and spent a kid-free weekend at the beach with her college girlfriends(!!!) Yes, it’s true- for a glorious 72 hours, there were no diapers to change, jobs to clock in to, dirty boxer-briefs to pick up off the floor. Just 4 gals, the crashing waves, and a super classy box of red wine.

With no deadlines to meet or tiny humans to tend to, the hours of the day passed lazily with cozy blankets and rabbit trails of conversation that usually began with “Remember when…?” and ended in fits of laughter. Time away is good for the soul and helps me to dust off little bits of myself that ordinarily hide on the bookshelf. These girls have been around for over a decade now, and every time we see each other, I’m always reminded how good it feels to be known. What would we do without the people in our lives who love us without agenda and in spite of ourselves? Bless. Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photos by jesse walsh dreamtown photo co

Tutorials with Friends!

One of my little beach bunnies, Abby, recently started a lifestyle blog called The Hollar-Days where she shares DIYS, painting tutorials, and snippets from her life as wife and mama. Abby shares my love of delicious food and beverages, so when she suggested we plan a little beachside picnic for our girl’s trip, I was all in. A few cookies and cocktails later (you know, for “testing purposes”), we came up with a few treats that I’m thrilled to share with you.

Exhibit A: lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

These cookies are quite similar to my favorite cutout sugar cookies that I shared with you all a while ago, except they have specks of vanilla bean and lavender. I adapted my favorite icing recipe so that you can simply dip the face of the cookie in the glaze, and I have to say, it makes preparing these cookies easy breezy. While lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are certainly special enough on their own, we decided to fancy them up a bit by splattering them with little gold speckles. I was inspired by a recent article in Martha Stewart Magazine and knew I needed an adaptation of my own. Maybe the girliest, most lovely little cookies of all time!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photo by abby hollar

Cookie Tags!

Abby, the super crafty lady that she is, came up with a coordinating champagne cocktail for us to enjoy and even hand-painted some tags to adorn the packaged cookies. With a vanilla bean simple syrup and super jazzy lavender bitters, champagne cocktails have never been so chic or Provencal (and you all know how I feel about the French).  Check out the her post for the cocktail recipe and watercolored tags as well as a few photos from our time at the beach. The rest of her blog is equally charming, and you may even catch a few snippets of her darling little Margot, who I’m certain is destined to be Aimee’s BFF someday. (Fingers crossed!!!)

Cookies are great, but sometimes, a little time away with your bests is just what the doctor ordered. Give these lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies a try, and share them with your favorite gals (or guys!) this coming Valentine’s Day. You can also find a few other delish cookie recipes to share with your besties here. Oh, and PS, I’m chomping at the bit to share ALL THE CHOCOLATE RECIPES with you guys throughout the month of February, so hold on to your hats, belts, and everything else, and prep your gullet for some melt in your mouth goodness. It’s going to be a delicious 28 days for us. Cheers to you!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

For a link to Abby’s cocktail recipe and Valentine’s gift tags, click here!

To check out the culinary lavender I purchased, click here!

To find lustre dust, click here!

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Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

The lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are soft cutout cookies scented with dried lavender and vanilla bean. Decorated with a glaze and a gold splatter, the tutorial for these cookie is easy and fun!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate your cookies, you will need

  • Food grade gold lustre dust (see notes)
  • Clear extract or liquor (I use clear vanilla or vodka)
  • A silicone basting brush

Instructions

To prepare the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind the lavender slightly using a food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Combine the lavender and remaining dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 6-8 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.
  4. When ready to frost your cookies, cover your work space in wax paper. Set out some cookie racks to place your frosted cookies on. To frost, hold each cookie by its rim and dip the face of it directly into the icing. Allow any excess to drip off the sides. Add more milk or sugar, if desired, to modify the consistency of your icing.

To decorate your cookies

  1. Cover your workspace in parchment or wax paper. Lay dry, frosted cookies out on the paper.
  2. Scoop 1/4 teaspoon lustre dust into a small dish and add 1/8 teaspoon of extract or liquor. Stir until the lustre dust is all dissolved. You can add an additional 1/8 teaspoon of liquor, if needed, but take care to not add too much, as this can cause your sugar icing to dissolve and bubble up.
  3. Dip a silicone basting brush in the liquid gold, and dab any excess off on the side of the bowl. Do a test splatter on a paper towel or extra sheet of wax paper. To splatter, I hold my silicone brush parallel to the work surface, draw back slightly at the wrist, and then fling the brush downward, like you’re swatting a fly or hitting a drum. The size and shape of your silicone bristles can change the way your splatter looks, so do a few test splatters before you move to your cookies. Once ready to decorate your cookies, splatter then in the same manner you did your tester and allow to dry completely before packing or storing.

Notes

  • For a deeper, more concentrated gold color, use as little alcohol as you can. The more liquid in the splatter, the lighter it will be.
  • I tested this technique using a natural hair basting brush and it was not successful. I recommend a silicone brush for best effect.
  • If desired, you can pipe the icing on your cookies for a more polished, perfected look. There is a tutorial for this in the cookies archives of my blog. You will need you frosting to be a bit thicker.
  • Be sure to purchase food grade, edible lustre dust. I purchased mine on Amazon!

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Adapted from: Bridget Edwards