Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

These charming, fragrant, and just downright gorgeous vanilla flecked shortbreads are a treat for the serious vanilla lover in your life. For some, flavoring with both beans and extract might be a bit overboard but we’re not messing around here. When you try these little cuties, your taste buds will be doing a happy vanilla dance.

This versatile recipe can be used in many applications. In addition to old fashioned shortbread cookies, we have used it as a tart shell with great success. Fill the baked crust with your favorite no-bake filling or use as an edible ice cream bowl. Just imagine, vanilla ice cream over a vanilla cookie bowl drizzled in strawberry sauce. I’ll take 2 please!


1 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling if desired.
4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups white rice flour
2 vanilla beans, scraped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


In a bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the scraped insides of the vanilla beans and vanilla extract. Next, add the all purpose and rice flour, kneading until just incorporated. Be careful not to overwork your dough as it will result in a heavy or gummy cookie. Divide the dough in 2 rounds, wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use the dough.

Preheat your oven to 350°C.

Roll your dough on to a floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out cookies and transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just golden on the bottom. Sprinkle with sugar if desired and allow 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Not as vanilla crazy as we are? Omit the vanilla beans and you will still have a lovely shortbread cookie, or try these add ins:

  • 2 tsp lemon zest and 2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 2 tsp orange zest, 1 pinch nutmeg.
  • 1 tsp rose water and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup your favorite coarsely chopped nuts