Double Vanilla Spiced Shortbread Cookies

by Shawn Gavin January 14, 2019

Double Vanilla Spiced Shortbread

As a lifelong fan of vanilla, I always felt like I was in the minority. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate? So when I started seriously baking as an adult, I was determined to create as many delicious vanilla-centric recipes as possible. I wanted to taste my favorite flavor in everything from cookies to ice cream, from buttercream to pound cake.

Today I not only accomplished this goal, but managed to convert more than a few diehard chocolate fans along the way.I found that the key to creating vanilla treats that are anything but “vanilla” is to use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on. Really good vanilla beans and 100% pure vanilla extract result in exceptional depth and flavor that you can’t match with inferior or artificially flavored products.

I also learned, through trial and error, to pair vanilla with ingredients that complement, rather than overwhelm. As in these delicious spiced shortbread cookies. Just a few simple ingredients, plus a double dose of vanilla(both the bean and extract) form the base of these easy, do-ahead cookies. The addition of spices results in a warm, flavorful dough that bakes up into a crisp and tender cookie that literally melts in your mouth. Which is exactly what vanilla deserves.

vanilla bean short cake cookies recipe

Double Vanilla Spiced Shortbread

(makes about 5 dozen)

1 vanilla bean (can substitute with 3 teaspoons of either vanilla extract or vanilla powder)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each ground ginger and nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt



Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds by running the back of a paring knife along the length of the opening. Place the seeds, along with the granulated sugar, into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to evenly distribute. Place the vanilla sugar, along with the brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract, into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Beat on medium till just combined and scrape down the sides again.Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a log approximately 10” long and 1 ½-2” in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour (or freeze for up to one month).

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees – line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the logs into 1/4” thick cookies and place on your baking sheets. Bake for 8–10 minutes, or till golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


vanilla bean shortbread

Shawn Gavin
Shawn Gavin


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