Salty Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Cookie Dough:
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 scant teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salty/Sugar Coating:
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt

1. To a small bowl, add the white granulated sugar and vanilla bean. Mix with your hands until the vanilla bean seeds are evenly distributed throughout the sugar. To a medium bowl, add the vanilla sugar, the oil and butter. Using a stand-up mixer or hand-mixer (you could even use a whisk), beat until fairly smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat once again. Add the egg, beating until smooth.

2. To another medium bowl, stir the dry ingredients together: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, beating until combined, yet being sure not to over-mix.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, until it's stiff enough to scoop easily and hold its shape; overnight is fine.

4. Just before shaping the cookies, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment.

5. Mix together the sugar and salt in a shallow pan or on a plate, and scoop the chilled dough by the tablespoon, rolling the dough into a ball using your palms. Next, roll the dough into the sugar/salt mixture, being sure to evenly coat. Place the cookies, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheets. Next, slightly press each cookie, flattening the tops. I did about 6 cookies per batch. And be sure to refrigerate the dough in between batches.

6. Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, until their edges are just beginning to brown. Bake slightly longer for a crisper cookie.

7. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

8. As soon as the cookies are completely cool, store them airtight, to retain their crunchy texture. For soft cookies, allow them to rest uncovered overnight before wrapping and storing.

Recipe adapted from <a href="http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/vanilla-sugar-cookies-recipe#reviews">King Arthur's Flour</a>
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