Vanilla Polka Dots are simple and elegant cookies, redolent of vanilla, that are equally at home in holiday tins or being whipped up from your pantry with a substitute sugar on the outside.
Do you like how I slipped in the substitute sugar comment? But it’s true–pandemic cooking and baking is not for the faint of heart when it comes to substitutions. Serve that stew without any cilantro or parsley–it will be just fine, I promise! And likewise, while we are all sitting around waiting for social distancing to end, pick baking recipes that can be made with what you have on hand, where a simple substitution, such as sparkling sugar, sanding sugar, turbinado sugar, heck even sprinkles!, can be used in place of the Swedish pearl sugar that you might not have in your pantry. The pearl sugar adds an elegant and fun twist to a holiday tin cookie, and a particular texture, it is true, but the flavor difference between pearl sugar and all those are forms of sugar will not be enough to make or break the cookie. And if you have kids I bet they prefer the sprinkles anyway. Personally, I think these cookies would make an outstanding Easter treat or just a coffee break pick-me-up to keep yourself sane during this coronavirus mess.
As I mentioned, yes I made these a while ago. People, this pandemic has my brain spinning. I have stopped sleeping (witness: I am typing right now at 3:09 AM), except when I say stopped sleeping, I only mean at night. So then all day I am a zombie who accomplishes nothing. So I continue to not be a great blogger, but hey at least my jaw is now closing and I can chew again! I think I prefer social distancing (outside of fear for others I mean) over not being able to close my jaw from TMJ. That was ridiculous. I got some good news regarding my thyroid cancer–we are on the right track with the medicine and just need to add still more of it. No biggie. So all things considered, life isn’t too bad. We are super super super lucky with John’s job, our roomy house, and our semi-rural location, which means walks outside are completely safe. I did have to learn how to order groceries online though, and I will be glad when that is done!
These cookies seem to be something you either love because you love the shortbread-ish texture and the unadulterated vanilla flavor (me! my brother in law, Jason!) or maybe you find them on the more boring side. Which I cannot understand, but to each their own, even if they are wrong. In fairness, “they” were also probably spoiled by the plethora of choices since the Vanilla Polka Dots were offered alongside all of the other Holiday cookies. Make sure to use good vanilla and good butter if you are baking under ideal circumstances, say for Christmas, but otherwise screw it, use what you have. Homemade is better than nothing and stress baking is real. And these Vanilla Polka Dots keep beautifully in a tin for weeks.
I found these Vanilla Polka Dots in the Holiday 2016 issue of Sift, it just took me a while to get to them (so many cookies and only so many people to eat them all December long!). I followed the recipe exactly, so I am going to send you over to King Arthur for the recipe. In the meantime, I hope to be sooner with my next post and I hope you are all staying safe INSIDE.
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