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Playing How to Make Spiced Vanilla Shortbread Cookies | Christmas Cookie Recipe

These easy shortbread cookies with vanilla spice and everything nice come from Rach's "Cookie Man" and former culinary team member Grant Melton. They're delish—and sturdy enough for sending to your loved ones in Christmas cookie care packages.  

Pro Tip: Instead of grinding the seeds in a spice grinder, place them on a cutting board and roughly chop them with a chef's knife or crush them with a heavy bottomed pan. 

For another easy cookie recipe that's great for gifting, check out Grant's Dark Chocolate-Pistachio Shortbread Cookies.


  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried orange granules or freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 


Serves: Makes 40


In a mixing bowl, whisk flour, fennel seeds, anise seeds, orange, cardamom, salt and nutmeg until combined.  

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and 1 cup sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix for a few seconds until combined. On the lowest speed, slowly add in the flour mixture until the dough comes together. Once the dough becomes slightly tacky and can easily be molded into a ball, dump the dough onto a work surface.

Using your hands, mound the dough into a big ball. Cut the ball in half and roll each half into a 10-inch-long log. Wrap each log tightly in wax paper, twisting the ends, so you have 2 logs of dough. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 1 hour or freeze for later use.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350˚F and remove the logs of dough from the refrigerator to soften a bit. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Unwrap the cookie dough and, using a sharp knife, slice the dough into ½-inch-thick rounds and arrange on the prepared cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until they start to brown and look dry on top. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. While the cookies are still warm, working 1 cookie at a time, coat the cookies in the cinnamon sugar on both sides, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.