There’s something special about a hand written recipe, especially from someone dear who has passed on. This recipe was handed down from Jennie to her grand-daughter Charlotte and since I’m a fan of shortbread I was lucky enough to get a copy.
The second part of this story is . . . my Bountiful Basket order included a vanilla bean. I had never seen a vanilla bean before or imagined cooking with one. After doing a little research I found that it’s the seeds in the pod that you cook with. Knowing how good-natured grandma Jennie was I’m sure she’s looking down from heaven smiling over my creative efforts rather than being upset that I’m messing with her shortbread recipe, which does not include a vanilla bean. If you don’t happen to have a vanilla bean just make them without, ’cause these are the best shortbread cookies ever!
Vanilla Bean Shortbread
1 vanilla bean (slit pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter, no substitutions
1/2 cup golden brown sugar (a slightly mounded 1/2 cup)
2 cups flour
Mix together vanilla seeds, vanilla, and butter. Add sugar and mix well. Add flour, dough should be stiff, but still form a ball. Roll out like pastry and cut into shapes. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. They should be slightly browned on the bottom, you might need to play with the temperature and time.