When I read about these cookies, made by one of our favorite coffee places in San Francisco on one of my favorite food blogs, I knew I’d have to try them when we were in the city. I love snickerdoodles & these were described as having “an unusual butterscotch flavor from the combination of saffron, brown sugar and vanilla”. So basically, taking an already delicious cookie & packing it full of flavors I love.
I ate these cookies for breakfast, dessert after breakfast & snacks while in San Francisco. For research…because I knew after that first bite that I would have to try my hand with the recipe. I need these cookies in my life. & they’re too good not to share, which is why I chose to make them for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
We received three dozen delicious cookies from all over the US & sent three dozen of these Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles to their lucky recipients: Vicki, Cookie, Rebecca & of course, we had to eat some ourselves.
Now, were they as good as the original? Close. The flavor was almost there, but ours were a little softer than the ones at Blue Bottle, spread out a bit more & didn’t achieve the unique buckle that happens when you take them out of the oven…but not bad for a first try.
SAFFRON VANILLA SNICKERDOODLES
makes 9 large cookies
about 30 threads saffron
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups (9.9 oz / 280 g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (4 oz / 113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3.5 oz / 100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (3.8 oz / 109 g) light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg (1.8 oz / 50 g), at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using a mortar & pestle, or clean spice grinder, crush the saffron into a fine powder. Transfer to a small pan.
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise & scrape the pulp from the inside. Add both the pulp & the bean to the saucepan with the saffron. Add the milk & cook over low heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan, or until the milk reaches between 180° to 190°. Remove from the heat, cover & let steep for 10 minutes.
Sift the flour & baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar & salt. Continue to beat on low until well combined. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then turn the mixer to medium & beat the mixture until light & fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean from the milk & be sure that any remaining pulp makes it back into the milk. Add the egg & vanilla extract & whisk until combined.
Turn the mixer back on medium & add the milk/egg mixture very carefully, in a steady stream, until everything is well combined & smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed on low & add the flour mixture, just until fully incorporated. Dump the dough out onto plastic wrap, shape into a rough disk & refrigerate for at least 3 hours & up to 5 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Scoop the dough into 1/4 cup portions, roll into a ball & place on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle, until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.