- 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, very cold
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar and the almonds. Process until finely ground. Add flour and salt, and pulse to combine.
- Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod. Add seeds to the flour mixture. (Reserve bean for the dusting sugar.) Add butter a few pieces at a time. Quickly pulse to combine. Do not overprocess. The mixture should resemble coarse meal.
- Place the reserved vanilla bean on the prepared baking sheet, and let dry out in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Remove dough to a clean work surface. Blend dough by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand. Gather it up with a bench scraper, and continue process until dough will peel easily from the work surface in one piece.
- Divide dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder 5/8 inch in diameter and about 22 inches long. Cut each log into pieces about 3 inches long. Curve each piece into a horseshoe, and place on the prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
- While cookies are baking, cut reserved dried vanilla bean into small pieces. Place the remaining cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until well mixed, about 1 minute. Sift sugar into a small mixing bowl to remove any large pieces of the vanilla bean.
- Remove cookies to a rack to cool. After cookies have cooled a little, about 5 minutes, gently toss warm cookies in vanilla sugar to coat. Remove to rack to cool completely. Once cooled, dust again with remaining vanilla sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Don't overprocess the almonds when grinding, or you'll end up with nut butter.