Try these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies for a fun and flavorful twist on classic shortbread. Fragrant vanilla bean paste and a sprinkle topping make these melt-in-your-mouth cookies totally irresistible!
Why These Cookies are Best
You’ll love the simple buttery sweet vanilla taste of these shortbread cookies–and how easy they are to make!
- Easy shortbread – You only need 5 ingredients for dough!
- Made with real vanilla – We use vanilla bean paste for a rich, fragrant vanilla flavor that makes these buttery cookies stand out from the crowd.
- White chocolate – Spread a little melted vanilla bark on top for even more sweetness.
- Covered with sprinkles – Mix up the sprinkle colors for different occasions!
- Vanilla bean paste is a baking ingredient made by combining the finely ground seeds from a vanilla bean with vanilla extract. It puts the creamy vanilla flavor front and center in these cookies. Dont’ have any on hand (you can order on amazon), use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the seeds from one vanilla bean.
- Unsalted butter is my preference over salted varieties in shortbread cookies. It gives you more control over the ultimate taste of the cookies.
- Powdered sugar sweetens these cookies and helps provide that light and delicate crumb we love in shortbread.
- White chocolate melting wafers create the perfect topping for these shortbread cookies! If you can’t find them, use melted vanilla almond bark instead.
- Make the shortbread dough: The dough may be crumbly. That’s totally normal. Just use your hands to work the dough until it starts to stick together.
- Roll and chill: Continue using your hands to roll the dough into a foot-long log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Slice and bake: Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into individual slices. Bake until the cookies begin to brown on the edges.
- Decorate: Once the cookies have cooled, melt the white chocolate (or vanilla bark). Spread a small amount onto each vanilla bean shortbread cookie then immediately add a few sprinkles.
Tips and Tricks
- Make ahead: This shortbread dough can be stored in the fridge for several days before baking. When you’re ready for homemade shortbread just slice and bake. As easy as store bought refrigerated cookie dough but tastes so much better!
- Storing: These cookies keep well for about one week in an airtight container. But good luck not eating them all long before then!
- Add-ins: Add mini chocolate chips to make Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies.
- Holiday variations: Customize these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies by using different colors of sprinkles. We love them with pink and red sprinkles for a Valentine’s Day treat! Or add festive sprinkles for Christmas!
- Freeze Cookies. Use my tips on how to freeze cookie dough for later.
- Caramel. Spread some dulce de leche between two cookies like we do with our alfajores.
To slice raw cookie dough, use a sharp (not serrated) knife. Rotate the log of dough a few inches after each slice to help keep the dough smooth.
Shortbread dough often gets crumbly because, unlike most cookies, it has no egg to bind the ingredients together. If it’s too crumbly to shape, knead the dough a few times to soften the butter and help the dough become more cohesive. It may take a couple of minutes but eventually you should be able to form it in a smooth log.
If you don’t have vanilla paste available, I recommend using a whole vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and add them to the dough for a wonderful strong vanilla flavor!
Yes, vanilla shortbread cookies are freezer friendly! Store the baked cookies in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the cookies cookies before adding melted white chocolate and sprinkles to the top.
More Easy Cookie Recipes
- Apple Shortbread Bars
- Raspberry Crumble Bars
- Rice Krispie Treats
- Dark Chocolate Brownies
- Easy Snickerdoodle Recipe
Vanilla isn’t a background player in these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies. It’s the star!