Vanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies

Vanilla Bean and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com) Slice and bake cookies are the best for two main reasons. The first is the most obvious. Having some frozen, ready to bake cookie dough in your freezer makes it super easy to just be minutes away from freshly, home-baked cookies. So if you end up with unexpected guests, this little trick will ensure you still end up looking like a real life Martha Stewart.

Oh, that’s not one of your goals? Well, just me then. 🙂

Vanilla Bean and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)But the second reason is actually my favorite. Having cookie dough in your freezer, ready to go means you can bake just 2-3 cookies and save the rest for later. Freshly baked cookies just for me?! Uh… yes, please. Sounds more fancy than heated tiles.

These little slice and bake delights combine the flavors of vanilla bean and thyme for a sweet and slightly herbal flavor. These cookies are rich and buttery with a texture somewhere between a crispy sugar cookie or a soft shortbread. They go well with afternoon tea. Or late night movie watching—whatever your speed. 😉

Slice and bake cookie recipeVanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies, makes 26-28 cookies

1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, plus more for decorating
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, cream together the butter, sugar, and the seeds from the vanilla bean. To remove them just slice the bean down the center, and then use the tip of your knife to scrape the seeds out.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the thyme and egg and whisk together until well incorporated.

Thyme glazeThen stir in the flour and salt until a dough ball forms. You may need to use your (clean) hands to press the dough together here. Roll the dough into long cylinder, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight. You can keep this frozen in your freezer for at least a month (probably longer).

When you are ready to make cookies, remove from the freezer and allow to sit out for a few minutes while your oven preheats. Then slice into 1/4 inch or slightly thicker rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or parchment paper.

Bake at 325°F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack.

In the meantime, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, then place back on the cooling rack to allow excess glaze to drip off (put some wax paper underneath for easy clean up). If you are feeling fancy (remember, we are going for real life Martha here), you can decorate the tops with a few thyme leaves as well.

Vanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)Here’s a few notes about these cookies:

-I find the best way to soften butter is to leave it out on the counter (out of the refrigerator) all day, or all night before you want to use it.

-These cookies are super delicious even without the glaze. So if you ARE just making 2-3 for yourself one night, feel free to skip the glaze if you don’t want to waste any.

-You can use leftover vanilla bean pods (what you scraped the seeds from) for making your own vanilla extract.

-You can swap out the thyme for rosemary or (food grade) lavender. I’d use a little less of either of these as thyme has a milder taste, at least to me. 😉

Happy cookie baking! Also, if you’re not feeling these delicate little slice and bake cookies, might I recommend Chocolate Snowcap Mountain Cookies or Blueberry Muffin Cookies. xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions