A variation on the classic soft and chewy vanilla sugar cookie, with French-style sour cream and a creamy vanilla bean glaze.
You know when you want a soft, plain cookie to dunk in your tea or just to enjoy as a sweet little treat? These vanilla crème fraiche cookies are here for you.
They’re similar in texture to other classic chewy sugar cookies like Black and White cookies and old fashioned sour cream cookies. In other words, they’re lightly sweet, buttery and vanilla-scented, with a soft, cake-like crumb.
And — bonus points! The dough is super easy to make; no rolling, cutting or otherwise fussing needed. Making these cookies is a matter of scoop, drop and bake.
About that crème fraiche:
It may sound like a fancy-pants ingredient (and possibly French-tailored, at that), but crème fraiche is a really pure and simple thing involving just heavy cream and lactic culture.
Crème fraiche has more butterfat than regular sour cream and doesn’t contain added stabilizers (which sour cream often does). In comparison to sour cream, crème fraiche tastes richer and sweeter.
I keep crème fraiche in my fridge pretty much always, for baking and as a dessert topping. A tablespoon or two of crème fraiche stirred into a pan sauce adds body and flavor, and it doesn’t curdle like sour cream does when heated. It also keeps for weeks if kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
The tangy glaze on top of these cookies has more crème fraiche, along with vanilla bean seeds to double-up on the vanilla flavor.
The cookies are easy to eat on repeat (not that I encourage that – wink). They tend to stale quicker if left uncovered, so keep them fresh for a few days in a ziptop plastic bag or glass storage container.
soft vanilla crème fraiche cookies
Yield 18 cookies
The dough can mixed right before baking, or make one day ahead and refrigerate.
My favorite cookie scoop makes perfect 2-tablespoon portions of dough.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream
- Colorful sprinkles (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon whole milk or buttermilk
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center of the oven.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute at low speed. Raise the speed to medium-high and add the sugar. Beat until light, fluffy and lighter in color, 3 - 4 minutes.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.
Add half the creme fraiche and half the flour mixture. Stir on low speed until just mixed before adding the remaining creme fraiche and flour.
Scoop 2 tablespoon-sized portions of dough onto the baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart (8 or 9 per sheet).
Bake one sheet at a time for 18 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Cool on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, mix the sugar, creme fraiche, milk and sea salt in a bowl until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, dribble in a tiny bit more milk. Scrape the vanilla bean with the back of a small knife, add to the bowl and mix it in.
Spread the glaze over the tops of the cooked cookies. Top with sprinkles, if you like.
Based on this recipe from Molly Yeh.