I posted this in response to a request. The original version of this recipe came from Gourmet magazine. Plan ahead - the dough needs to chill at least 4 hours before slicing and baking. Save your empty vanilla bean pods after using in this recipe - if you stick the used pods into an airtight container of granulated sugar for at least a week, the sugar will become vanilla sugar for use in other recipes.
- Cream together the butter, chilled shortening, and 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
- With a sharp knife halve vanilla beans lengthwise, then scrape the seeds directly into the butter mixture, mixing to combine.
- Beat in egg and vanilla extract until combined well.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture and mix until just combined.
- Set a large sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface.
- Set dough onto the waxed paper and form dough into a 10x2" log.
- Roll up dough log in wax paper, seal ends with rubber bands, and chill until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days (stick wrapped log into a plastic ziptop baggie to keep from drying out).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pour remaining 1/4 cup sugar onto a shallow platter.
- Remove wax paper and roll dough log in sugar (not all sugar will stick).
- Cut dough into rounds,1/4" thick.
- Dip the cut sides of each cookie round into the remaining sugar on platter (add a little extra sugar if you need more).
- Arrange cookies 1/2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets and bake one batch at a time in the middle of your oven 10-12 minutes, or until edges are a very pale golden brown.
- Remove baked cookies to wire racks to cool.