- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise or 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together flour and granulated sugar. With tip of a knife, scrape pulp from vanilla bean. Using a pastry blender, cut in the 1/2 cup butter and half of the vanilla bean pulp (or 1 teaspoon vanilla) until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Knead dough until smooth and form into a ball.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8x6-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut rectangle into twenty-four 2x1-inch rectangles. Transfer dough rectangles to an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 1 inch between rectangles. Bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
3. For Orange Buttercream: In a large bowl, beat the 1/4 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of the milk, the remaining half of the vanilla bean pulp (or 1 teaspoon vanilla), and orange peel. Beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and enough additional milk to make frosting of piping consistency.
4. Transfer Orange Buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a small closed star tip. Pipe frosting on the bottom of each of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining half of the cookies, flat sides down. Makes 12 sandwich cookies.
5. Layer unassembled cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw cookies, if frozen. Assemble sandwich cookies as directed in Steps 3 and 4.