(inspired by Cinnamon Sablés from David Bouley's "East of Paris: The New Cuisines of Austria and the Danube")

In this recipe I've put the minimum amount of vanilla and vanilla bean necessary. Feel free to double or triple the amount. Don't use vanilla bean paste in these cookies because they will be too sweet. They're best eaten the day they're made although they will keep for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container. You can refrigerate the dough for up to a week or freeze it for many months if it's well wrapped. Don't coat them with egg and sugar until right before you bake them. Makes about 32 cookies.


for the cookie dough:

2  cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter, unsalted and room temperature

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (slice bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds)

1 egg

for the sugar coating:

1 egg

3/4 cup sugar

seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (slice bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds)


Whisk flour and salt together and set aside. In a mixer or by hand cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Mix until you can see that the seeds are evenly distributed. Scrape down sides and add the egg. Mix for 5 seconds. Add flour and salt mixture in 3 batches, mixing briefly and scraping down after each addition.

Scrape the dough out onto a long piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, roll the dough out into a log 2" in diameter. Leave it a round cylinder or if you prefer square cookies you can flatten all four sides into a square cylinder. Put the log into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Put granulated sugar on a flat surface like a big plate or platter (or directly onto your counter). With your fingers mix in the vanilla bean seeds until evenly distributed. This takes a few minutes. Whisk the egg in a bowl. Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap and cut into 2 smaller logs. Paint the first log all over with the beaten egg EXCEPT for the 2 exposed ends. Roll the log in the vanilla sugar until well-coated. There is very little sugar in this cookie dough so make sure you get a nice layer on the log. You can even press it in a bit with your fingers. With a serrated knife carefully slice the cookies 1/2" thick. Place cookies on a nonstick sheet pan (or use a silpat or parchment paper). White the first batch cooks, repeat egg and sugar coating with 2nd log. Keep an eye on the cookies after they've been in the oven about 8 minutes. Take them out when the cookies are just set and the sugar begins to brown along the edges. Cool completely on the sheet pan or the sugar coating will crack off. Eat right away.