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What could be better than cookies that taste great and make you feel good? I’ll tell you: Cookies that make you smile. Even better, cookies that make someone else smile. I like to think I’m a woman of various talents in the kitchen, but nothing gets me going in an apron more than desserts. I love them all equally, but cookies hold a special place in my heart. I believe they’re the reason for every season – the boss you want to thank, the potluck you promised to partake in, the birthday gift you forgot to buy, but wait! You have butter, eggs and sugar!

After repeatedly sharing how badly I wanted Joy the Baker’s new cookbook Homemade Decadence, Chris and I returned home from New Orleans where a copy was waiting for me at the front door. That guy, I tell you, he deserves all the cookies in the world.

Homemade Decadence has deservedly earned a spot among my favorite cookbooks. The book opens with a chapter on brunch and you don’t need to read any further (if anyone has ideas for how we can have Hawaiian Sweet Pineapple Breakfast Rolls and Mango-Watermelon Tequila Sunrises every day, please comment below), but you really should. There’s a chapter on cookies, brownies and bars, from which I’m going to share a little cookie goodness below; one on everything ice cream; another on pies, crumbles and cobblers (Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping – it’s on this Thanksgiving); and another on layer cakes, cupcakes and skillet cakes. This chapter is a treat because Joy takes a basic three-layer yellow cake and gives options to fancy it up. My favorite is her idea for Mint Chocolate Chip Cake. I plan on making this for my mint chip ice cream-loving dad for his birthday, but I fear he may fall over in his chair. Cake all up in his face.

I made Joy’s recipe for Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies to take to some special ladies I see each morning at my local coffee shop. You supply me with the caffeine I need, I thank you in cookie gold. It’s the least I can do. This was my first time baking with vanilla bean and oh, is it a game changer. The vanilla flavor of these cookies is pronounced perfectly and then there’s the rainbow jimmies. Jimmies in the batter, batter rolled around in more jimmies, these cookies were made to make people smile.

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Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies

Recipe from Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence, available on Amazon

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sprinkles (jimmies are preferable)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into a bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough will be thick (you may have to finish incorporating the mixture with a spatula). Fold in ¼ of the sprinkles.
  4. Put the remaining ¼ cup sprinkles in a bowl. Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough and roll it into a ball. Dip the ball into the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly. Put the ball on a plate. Repeat with the remaining sprinkles and dough, and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Put racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Transfer the chilled dough balls to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each ball.
  7. Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown around the edges, but are mostly pale and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Makes about 18 cookies