Pouring rain in this part of Scotland is rare. Usually it's just that annoying drizzle that's as if God is spitting at you. Right now it's a proper shower. The wind's strong, the temperature's cold, and the skies are a miserable gray. Miserable, yes. Pure misery is only emotion and word I can use to describe this. People on the streets walk about with their heads down, hair in the face, holding onto fragile umbrellas that are being blown in all directions. Everyone's squinting and grimacing and you can feel the negative aura.
So it's an indoor tea-drinking-biscuit-eating day. Imagine this: sipping hot earl gray and eating hese vanilla biscuits as you sit by the window hearing the rain beat gently against the window -- it all sounds so romantic but it never is when it rains here, I just feel irritated and miserable.
These cookies are thin and crispy, and I know, they sound very simple, but the fact that they contain a whole vanilla bean means that these things are just bursting with flavor. Vanilla beans are so expensive, I know, but these really wouldn't taste the same if you were to use vanilla extract.
Recipe adapted from Poires au Chocolat
1 vanilla bean
50g caster sugar
125g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Cut the hard tips off the vanilla, chop it into bits and place in a food processor with the sugar. Blend until the vanilla bean into seeds and small dark flecks. You'll have to stop and scrape by the sides quite regularly, and don't worry if at the end there are still bits that haven't broken down. I just ended hand chopping those pieces to as small as possible.
Add the butter and blend until you get a smooth paste. Then add the flour, salt and baking powder. Pulse until it resembles bread crumbs.
Press the dough together and wrap it in cling film. Leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. Take the dough out and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. Roll to the thickness of about 5mm and cut out desired shapes. Place on a baking sheet on a baking tray, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C and bake the cookies for about 8 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.