Basic Vanilla Cookie

My tried and tested basic vanilla cookie recipe is my staple for most decorated cookies. It is a great biscuit dough to work with. Once chilled, it rolls out smoothly and is easy to cut cookies. The cookies bake evenly and have a lovely golden colour due to the addition of the wholemeal flour. I will often add lemon / orange zest for flavour. 


170g unsalted butter, room temperature

200g golden / unrefined caster sugar

2 medium eggs, free-range or organic

1tsp vanilla bean paste

300g plain flour

100g wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Zest from half an orange / lemon

Makes approx. 20-24 medium sized biscuits


Preheat the oven to 180degC (Gas Mark 4) and line 2 or 3 baking sheets with baking paper.

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar to make a light, fluffy mixture. Sieve the flours together along with the baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Add the 2 eggs to the butter mixture, beating between additions to combine well. Then add the flour ensuring the mixture is just combined to prevent the dough from being over-worked. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

When ready, place the chilled dough onto a floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of about 5mm. Just thicker than a pound coin. Using your selected cutters to cut out your shapes, transfer them to a baking tray using a palette knife. Be sure to have the shapes well spaced out as they will expand when baking. Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and allow 10-12 minutes to bake until golden brown in colour. The cookies can bake quickly so do keep an eye on them. 

Leave the cookies to cool on the sheet initially and then transfer to a wire rack.

When thoroughly cooled, the cookies can be decorated immediately or stored in an airtight container. These cookies will keep for several weeks.