adapted from a recipe in Gourmet | December 2002
• 1 fresh vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
• 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1 large egg yolk
Special equipment: a 2-inch cookie cutter
Make Vanilla Sugar: Scrape vanilla seeds from pod with tip of a knife into confectioners sugar. Halve pods crosswise and bury in sugar. Cover tightly and let stand at least 24 hours and up to 1 month.
Make Cookies: Discard pods and transfer vanilla sugar to a food processor. Add flour, salt and baking powder and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse just until mixture is in pea-size lumps. Add yolk and pulse just until a dough forms. Gather dough into 2 balls, then flatten into 2 disks and chill, each disk wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
1. Preheat over to 325˚F.
2. Roll out 1 disk (keep the other chilled) to less than 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutter and arrange cookies 1/2-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make more cookies with remaining dough, rerolling scraps as little as possible.
3. Bake cookies in middle of oven until edges are pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.