Vanilla Bean Shortbread


Many shortbread recipes showcase their rich butter flavor and contain no vanilla. This recipe highlights the flavors of vanilla bean and also partially uses rice flour, which gives the cookie a slightly more granular texture. Rice flour is used in many traditional Scottish shortbread recipes.

Image: Peter Muka

Vanilla Bean Shortbread
Makes: Makes 16 wedges
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 tablespoon vanilla-bean paste
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rice flour
  1. Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter with electric mixer until soft. Add sugar and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla bean or paste. Add flour and rice flour and beat just until combined. Use hands to bring the dough together. Divide dough in half and gently roll each half into a ball on your work surface.
  3. Place the balls, spaced apart, on the prepared pan and press each one into a 7-inch round. Prick several times with a fork. Score each round into 8 wedges with a large chef knife.
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cut through the scored lines while still warm. Cool completely on rack. Shortbread may be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Bakepedia Tips

  • If using a vanilla bean, you will be left with the pods scraped clean of the seeds. Make sure to read our recipe for Vanilla Sugar to make good use of the leftover pods.
  • The rice flour might sound like an unusual ingredient, but with the proliferation of gluten-free recipes, it has become easier to find. We use Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour, which is accessible online and at Whole Foods stores.

One Response to Vanilla Bean Shortbread

  1. Dina January 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    i’ve never heard of using rice flour in shortbread. i’d like to try it. i made some last week using custard powder for the first time and it had a nice subtle malted flavor.

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