Vanilla Bean and Cherry Swirled Icebox Cookies

Cherry and Vanilla Bean swirled Icebox cookies

I asked on facebook if it was too soon to start sharing Valentine’s recipes, and I received a resounding “absolutely not.” So, here is the first one of the season.
These cookies have an amazing depth of flavor AND a chewy texture. I love them. I tried to make them swirled using cherry juice instead of food coloring, but I don’t think I used enough. The swirl is very faint. Next time I might add in just a pinch of red food coloring gel. But only a pinch, because I really love how delicate these look.
However, don’t let that fool you on their taste. I used a homemade vanilla sugar to add some deep vanilla flavor. You could just add some bean, or paste to the cookies, but I like to make vanilla sugar and keep it in  mason jars in my pantry. I use it often, and just replace the sugar and not the beans. Every 5-6 uses I remove the beans and add fresh ones. I buy my beans online (here) as they are much cheaper that way, and you get more than the one or two in a jar from the grocery store!
Cherry and Vanilla Bean swirled Icebox cookies
One of the best things about these cookies is you store them in the freezer wrapped in parchement or wax paper. Then you slice and bake. Perfect to keep extra rolls stocked up for guests or a fun easy weeknight dessert. I like to make extra batches of these and store them just for that reason!
Vanilla Bean and Cherry Swirled Icebox Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen


  • 2 cup flour, plus 2 Tbsp flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup vanilla sugar (see recipe)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice (from jar of cocktail cherries)
  • 1/4 cup sugar sprinkles


  1. In mixer, beat butter with vanilla sugar until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add egg whites.
  2. In separate bowl, mix 2 cup flour with baking soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture. Divide dough in half. To one half, beat in vanilla extract. To other half, beat in cherry juice with remaining 2 Tbsp flour.
  3. Lay vanilla dough on large sheet of parchment paper. Shape into a 6 inch log. Using a second piece of parchment paper on top, roll to form a 12 inch square. Freeze for about 15 minutes. Repeat with cherry dough.
  4. Remove dough from freezer (no longer than 15-30 minutes). Remove parchment paper and lay dough on top of each other. Roll combined dough into one log, re-wrap in parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours or until ready to slice and bake.
  5. When ready to bake, pour sprinkles on a baking sheet. Unwrap frozen dough and roll in sprinkles. Slice dough about 1/4 inch thick. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 7-9 minutes.
  6. **note** If you don't have vanilla sugar, scrape one vanilla bean into your granulated sugar and continue the recipe as written.
  7. **note squared** Another great tip to rolling these out would be to press one layer into the bottom of a wax paper lined 13x9 freezer safe dish. Press the second layer on top. Freeze for 15 minutes, remove and roll. Return to freezer until ready to use.
  8. (inspired by Taste of Home)
**If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also enjoy….
Icebox Cookies by The Faux Martha
Sugar Cookie Bars by In Katrinas Kitchen
Lofthouse Sugar Cookies by Shugary Sweets

47 Responses to “Vanilla Bean and Cherry Swirled Icebox Cookies”

  1. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    How creative! I really love the idea of sprinkles on the side instead of on top! I was afraid of starting valentine’s day treats were too I didn’t this weekend but according to your poll, it isn’t — so I might just start tonight! :)

  2. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks Julie! As a side note, you really need to add your email to your profile and allow people to reply to your comments. I think I have written you a dozen replies that I later realized were to cyberspace because you don’t have email :)

  3. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    These are beautiful!!! My kids and hubby would be thrilled with these…I think any sugar cookie comes in a close second to their beloved chocolate chip cookies!

  4. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Definitely not too early to start sharing the pink glittery stuff:-) I love the faint swirl too…looks like the perfect cup of coffee cookie!!!

  5. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    What a great presentation. They look so delicious. Come visit us today. We have the best crockpot chicken recipe on the menu!

  6. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Very pretty. And I totally agree that it’s not too early, mostly because I have been wondering the same thing! Guess I should go ahead and start baking 😉

  7. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    These look so pretty, love the pink sprinkles. Perfect for Valentines day that is coming up

  8. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    yummy…tasty one..Bookmarked


  9. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    These look beautiful! And I’ve been thinking about making vanilla sugar, but had some lingering questions– which you answered!!!! Thanks :)

  10. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    These are adorable! I love the pink sprinkles & even the way you tied them together with a little string. Vanilla & cherry swirled sounds pretty fantastic, yum!

  11. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    my gosh these are sweet little cookies w/ the little pink sprinkles. I love them! Thx for sharing.

  12. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Aimee, these are on my V-Day list to make !! Love the look of them! <3

  13. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Never to early for Valentine’s Day! I love all the pink. These cookies look and sound fabulous!

  14. posted Jan 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    everything about this post..I want:

    vday and not too early..ok, good b/c I have pink food sitting in my drafts posts b/c I didnt wanna jump the gun.

    love that these are a make ahead/freezer log.

    And the vanilla sugar and tips…awesome!!

  15. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 3:18 am

    very pretty I bet they would be great for mardi gras as well or any good time to celebrate come see what I shared at

  16. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 6:22 am

    These are so pretty!! I love the cherry addition!

  17. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

    This is amazing!! I am a new follower! Found you on Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, hope you have a great week!

  18. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 11:58 am

    These look wonderful! I love that you added cherry juice! There so pretty and perfect for Valentines! These will be on my weekend to do list!

  19. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    These are so perfect for a girly baby shower I am throwing in a few weeks!!! I cant wait to make them…and eat them :)

  20. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Yhese cookies are definitely for me as pink is my favorite color :)
    Really beautiful and unique cookies

  21. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    These are so pretty! I love the pink around the edges!

  22. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    These are so cute! And I love how easy they are to bake right up!

  23. posted Jan 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    These are pretty! Love the pink edges. Makes me want one of your delicious cookies. Pat

  24. posted Jan 11, 2012 at 12:16 am

    They look delicious and beautiful! My link party The Inspiration Board is open and I would be so happy if you linked this up. I know my readers would love it.
    carolyn – homework

  25. posted Jan 11, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Adorable! I love the pink tutu around the edge.

  26. Sue
    posted Jan 13, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I love the look of these cookies, and I noticed the swirl right away, before I even read your post:) Hooray for Valentine’s Day treats!

  27. posted Jan 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    these look amazing!
    you should join me for handmade 52!

  28. posted Jan 14, 2012 at 4:40 am

    How cute, these are perfect for valentines day :) Thanks for the idea! Your blog is great. Hope to see you around.

  29. posted Jan 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    What a pretty pink color! And the recipe sounds like they are just as delicious!

  30. posted Jan 15, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Love the pink sprinkles!

  31. posted Jan 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I love the sprinkles!!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured you post in my wrap up

    Have a great weekend!

  32. posted Jan 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    these look amazing, I can no wait to try this!
    thanks for sharing it!

  33. posted Jan 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I can’t wait to try these! I’m going crazy for the flavors and those sprinkles! It’s taking me back to a cookie from my childhood!

    Featuring your recipe on “A Little Birdie Told Me…” tomorrow!


  34. posted Jan 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    They look pretty and tasty. Good luck from Bacon Time.

  35. posted Jan 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    We made the cookies last night! What a sweet treat! The beautiful pink swirl …. gets us in the mood for Valentine’s Day! A really yummy cookie! thanks for sharing!

  36. posted Jan 23, 2012 at 7:14 am

    These sound really! And they look very festive!

  37. posted Feb 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Love this! We are hosting our first Kitchen Fun and Crafty link party this Friday (the 10th) and would love for you to share this! Feel free to stop by and grab a party button!

  38. posted Feb 7, 2012 at 2:29 am

    What a cute treat! Thanks for the idea…and the Sugar Rush!

  39. posted Feb 11, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I followed the trail from this sweet collection to your blog! Love the pink sugar sparkles–thanks for sharing!

  40. Gee
    posted Feb 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I went one step further, and mashed up 2 cherries into a paste, then added that to the cherry juice dough. WOW! really punched it up a notch in flavor, and the tiny bits of red looked so cute

  41. posted Feb 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Lovely cookies! Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  42. shannon
    posted Oct 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Did you use 2 egg whites instead of a whole egg, or is there a reason not to use the yolk in these cookies? Thx! (BTW – they sound so yummy!)

    • posted Oct 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      I used the egg whites because I wanted the cookies to stay nice and bright without the yellow yolks!

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