You know a cookie is going to be delicious when you see those little black speckles of vanilla bean! Each crunchy, buttery bite of Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies is warmed with creamy vanilla flavor.
We have Scotland to thank for many things. Those who love reading are thankful for Scottish writers like Robert Burns, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and J.K. Rowling. Those who love drinking are thankful for gin and whiskey. Those who eat cookies are thankful for shortbread.
Traditional Scottish shortbread is magical. You mix just butter, flour, and sugar and end up with an incredibly crunchy, delicious butter cookie. The perfect partner for a cup of tea.
Shortbread dough is very versatile and can baked in a variety of forms. Petticoat shortbread is pressed into a round pan and cut into wedges. Shortbread fingers are pressed into a rectangular pan and sliced into bars. The dough can also be used for slice and bake cookies or scooped for drop cookies.
Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies is the 12th shortbread recipe on The Monday Box! Obviously, I’m a shortbread fan. Search this site for “shortbread” and you will discover recipes for flavors like chocolate, peach tea, or espresso. You can also find shortbread festively decorated for Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Super Bowl Sunday.
I’m a shortbread fan not only because shortbread cookies are delicious, but they are great care package cookies. Their flavor gets even better as they age. Plain or flavored, shortbread is a favorite for cookie jars at home and boxes shipped afar.
Frequently asked questions
How long does shortbread last?
Shortbread cookies will stay fresh for 2-4 weeks at room temperature. Store the cookies in airtight containers in layers separated by wax paper.
Can you freeze shortbread cookies?
Baked shortbread cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze the cookies in airtight containers in layers separated by wax paper.
Can you freeze shortbread dough?
Shortbread dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To store the dough for drop cookies, portion the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, close together but not touching. Freeze for at least 2 hours until solid. Once frozen, the dough balls can be placed in a freezer weight ziplock bag.
To store the dough for slice and bake cookies, form dough logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Cookies can be sliced from the frozen dough logs without defrosting.
- Cream butter then mix in vanilla, salt, and sugar.
- Add flour until a dough forms.
- Scoop 2 tablespoon portions of dough onto lined baking sheet.
- Dip the top of each dough ball into decorating sugar and place back on the baking sheet.
- Freeze the dough balls on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, to prevent spreading.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes at 300° F until edges are golden.
- Shortbread cookies highlight the flavor of the butter. Use the best quality butter for the best flavored cookies. European butters, like Kerrygold and Plugra, are recommended due to their higher fat content.
- The vanilla flavoring in these cookies comes from vanilla paste, which is a convenient way to add flavor and vanilla bean bits. An equal amount of vanilla extract can be substituted for the same flavor without the bean speckles.
- The sugar used will affect the texture, as well as the sweetness, of the cookies. Granulated and superfine sugars create a crunchy cookie. Superfine sugar is best for cut-out shortbread cookies to limit spreading. Confectioners’ sugar makes the texture sandier and less crunchy.
- Beat the dough minimally. Over creaming the butter will cause the cookies to spread while baking.
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Tools you may need
More shortbread cookie recipes
Vanilla shortbread cookies recipe
Vanilla Shortbread is a multitasking wonder. Just right for when you need something simple that’s also delicious. Tea time? Coffee break? Study session? After school snack? This is your cookie.
Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Large crystal decorating sugar
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for about 1 minute.
- Add the vanilla, salt, and sugar and mix to combine.
- Gradually mix in the flour, just until a dough forms.
- Use a medium, 2 tablespoon, scoop to portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheet about 2” apart.
- Pour about 2 tablespoons of decorating sugar into a shallow bowl.
- Dip the top of each dough ball in the colored sugar and return to the baking sheet.
- Chill the dough balls on the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300° F. Remove baking sheet from freezer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bottoms and edges begin to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven. Leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2-4 weeks.
Wrap pairs of cookies, bottoms together, in plastic wrap. Stack the bundled cookies in a freezer weight ziplock bag or snugly in a plastic storage container.