Vanilla Spiced Shortbread Cookies

Full of spice and all things nice!

Buttery, festive spiked shortbread, with flavours of cinnamon spice and vanilla. These vanilla spiced shortbread cookies are an easy-to-make, festive treat. Pop this recipe on repeat, as it keeps well in an airtight container and makes a fab gift!

The inspiration

I’ve been baking a lot of cookies lately. Between school holidays and being in and out of lockdown, it’s been a way to keep us busy and also to look towards my favourite time of the year, the festive season. Some of the best Christmas baking recipes need a month or two’s preparation, so I’ve been getting a bit of a head start on things.

One of my favourite cookbooks for festive baking is Classic German Baking by Louisa Weiss. It’s full of traditional German Christmas classics like stollen bites, and pfeffernusse. And as a family who takes their stollen very seriously, (first stollen of the season is a celebrated event!) it’s a total winner. I totally get lost in this book, it’s just so charming! Louisa talks a bit about creating a spice blend that you can use as a base for your festive baking. While mine is not nearly as detailed as hers, it’s a simpler version that I like to use for cookies. As well as these vanilla spiced shortbread cookies, I’ve also used it in these spiced dulce de leche thumbprints.

A stack of vanilla spiced shortbread cookies surrounded by Christmas tree branches and fairy lights

Christmas spice blend

A spice blend for adding a little hint of Christmas spice to your festive baking

  • 5 tbsp cinnamon (ground)
  • 1 tsp cloves (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 1 tsp cardamom (ground)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (ground)

Pop all ingredients into a preserving jar and shake to combine. 

What you need to make vanilla spiced shortbread cookies

  • Unsalted butter – because butter is always better!

  • Pantry staples – golden castor sugar, plain flour

  • Vanilla bean


  • Christmas spice (recipe below)

The details…

  1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on a medium speed until combined (approximately 1 minute)
  2. Add the scraped vanilla seeds and Christmas spice. Mix for another minute on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  3. From this point, mix the rest by hand to avoid overmixing. Remove bowl from mixer and add half of the flour. Using a mixing spoon, fold the flour into the butter mixture. Once the flour is incorporated, add the remaining flour and fold through.
  4. Shaped the dough into a rough disc shape and place it between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out dough (rolling the rolling pin over the greaseproof paper) to ½cm in thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into the desired shape (i use a 4cm round cutter)
  5. Place cookies onto a Silpat. Sprinkle each cookie with a little of the sugar topping. Place shortbread in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160°c.
  7. Pop the shortbread into the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.

Here are a few more of my favourite cookie recipes…

Do you have any festive baking traditions? Let me know in the comments!

Happy baking

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a stack of vanilla spice shortbread discs dusted with icing sugar

Vanilla spiced shortbread cookies

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 15 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Cuisine: Festive, German, Scottish

Description

An easy and buttery shortbread with a hint of festive spice


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 120 g butter (at room temperature)
  • 60 g golden castor sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (scraped of seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp christmas spice
  • 160 g plain flour

Sugar topping

  • 1 tbsp golden castor sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Christmas spice

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on a medium speed until combined (approximately 1 minute)
  2. Add the scraped vanilla seeds and christmas spice. Mix for another minute on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  3. From this point, mix the rest by hand to avoid overmixing. Remove bowl from mixer and add half of the flour. Using a mixing spoon, fold the flour into the butter mixture. Once the flour is incorporated, add the remaining flour and fold through.
  4. Shaped the dough into a rough disc shape and place it between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out dough (rolling the rolling pin over the greaseproof paper) to ½cm in thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into the desired shape (i use a 4cm round cutter)
  5. Place cookies onto a Silpat. Sprinkle each cookie with a little of the sugar topping. Place shortbread in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 160°c.
  7. Pop the shortbreads into the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.


Keywords: Festive, Shortbread, Spice, Vanilla

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