Sugar-dusted vanilla shortbread

Sugar-dusted vanilla shortbread

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(45 ratings)

Cook: 20 mins Plus chilling time


Makes 35 biscuits

Great for keeping the biscuit tin topped up over Christmas, these sweet shortbread thins make a perfect treat

Nutrition and extra info

  • uncooked dough or baked and undusted
  • Vegetarian


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 325g plain flour
  • 200g chilled salted butter, plus a little more for the sheets



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
  • 2 large free range egg yolks
  • icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Tip the flour into a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop them into the bowl, then whizz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks and whizz to a smooth dough.

  2. With your hands, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a sausage shape about 25cm/9in long and 5cm/2½in in diameter. Wrap the roll and chill for at least 1 hour. (The roll can be frozen for up to 6 weeks. To use, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for one hour at room temperature so that the dough is soft enough to be sliced into biscuits.)

  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C and lightly grease 2 large baking sheets. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into slices, each a generous 5mm/¼in thick, then arrange them on the greased baking sheets, spacing the biscuits slightly apart so they have a bit of room to spread as they cook.

  4. Bake for 20 minutes until the biscuits are just turning pale golden around the edges, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust generously with icing sugar. The biscuits will keep fresh for up to one week stored in an airtight tin.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Red Ruby's picture
Red Ruby
29th Mar, 2020
Great recipe! I have tried to find the perfect recipe for biscuits/cookies, and this is the perfect one! I do not currently have a food processor so I just used my mixer and it still worked fine. Also, I didn’t chill the dough as I did not have time and was still able to handle. I baked for the exact time and was great. I decided to make royal icing to put on top and was easy. Overall this is the best biscuit recipe I have attempted: perfect biscuit, baked well, and tastes delicious. Would definitely recommend!
Jade Richer's picture
Jade Richer
31st Oct, 2019
I made these today and don't want to blow my own trumpet but they were really good. Instructions easy to follow and the times were pretty much as stated. Recommend to anyone.
Auntie Depressant's picture
Auntie Depressant
31st Dec, 2017
this is a great base-cookie recipe, really close to other sugar cookie recipes I’ve tried, but I’ve found that I like the recipes that include the whole egg, not just the yolks. When there are no leavening agents, such as soda/powder, the proteins in the egg-whites help to incorporate air for lighter, “higher” results. Whether throwing in a handful of chocolate chips or pecans, etc., the easiest way to cut the roll of dough into cookies, is always my old fool-proof use of dental floss, which I use for cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, etc. Just place a piece of the floss under the roll, at ¼ “ intervals, simply grasping the ends and bringing them together until they cross and slice through the dough; no more squashed cookies or buns, as I’ve found that my knives never seem to be sharp enough to cut dough cleanly
shilpatij's picture
16th Feb, 2014
The ingredients were "below" on the old website, but not on the "new" one! Here are the ingredients for those of you who want them! 325g plain flour 200g chilled salted butter 125g/4½oz golden caster sugar 2 tsp good-quality vanilla extract 2 large free range egg yolks These biscuits do turn out very well.
4th Oct, 2014
Brilliant thank you so much for that. I did have the recipe written somewhere but of course it has dissapeared.. lol.. I love adding a pinch of mixed spice to the dough to make them Christmassy..
28th Nov, 2013
These are a family favourite, I roll out the dough and cut the biscuits into star shapes, makes a much neater presentation. Also, I freeze them in the cut out shapes, so easy to pop into the oven for unexpected guests.
katycooks's picture
2nd May, 2013
I used this as a "base" recipe and added chopped nuts and dark chocolate chips. Because of that, it was slightly tricky to slice the "roll" into thins, but the resulting biscuits were delicious, and quite "rustic" looking. (I didn't dust them with icing sugar as there was no need).
18th Nov, 2012
Loved these. Very quick and easy to make. I made a batch in advance and froze the dough and they came out brilliantly. Served this at a family gathering, and dipped half the cookies with chocolate and decorated the other half with icing sugar and sprinkles. Everyone complemented me on them. They held their shape really well so will be use Christmas cookie cutters and serve again on Boxing Day.
16th Jul, 2012
Quick, easy recipe, resulting in nice biscuits. Fool proof!
24th Nov, 2011
this recipe sounds reeeel good with excellent reviews. MUST TRY!!!!!!! made biscuits only once before (cookies). Not 100% successful so can't wait to try these. Will let you know the result.! Happy baking everone!


shilpatij's picture
21st Nov, 2018
This recipe has been on your website for almost 10 years. Why is it, that the ingredients are still not listed and you have to go looking elsewhere on you site?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Nov, 2018
Thanks for your feedback. This reflects the way the recipes appeared in the magazine originally but we are always open to suggestions for improvement.
22nd Dec, 2016
Have made these to give as Xmas presents the past 3yrs. I cut into star shapes, cut out star shapes in white fondant, stick on top of shortbread with icing sugar & water mix then dust with edible shimmer. Pretty and tasty
7th Dec, 2014
I normally add orange rind and chopped cranberries to make a richer taste.
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