Dorie Greenspan's Do-Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough

December  7, 2016
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about 80 cookies
Author Notes

From Dorie's Cookies.

While I'll know you'll find bunches of ways to use this dough—its full vanilla flavor and mix of crisp and sandy texture are chameleon-like in their capacity to welcome other flavors and shapes—there are four recipes in this collection to start your imagination spinning: White Chocolate and Poppyseed Cookies, Double Ginger Crumb Cookies, Vanilla Polka Dots, and Christmas Spice Cookies. —Dorie Greenspan

What You'll Need
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Dorie Greenspan's Do-Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough
  • 1 pound (454 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (262 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (544 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the egg whites, followed by the vanilla. The dough might curdle, but it will smooth out with mixing and the addition of the flour.
  2. Still working on low speed, add the flour in 3 to 4 additions, beating only until it is almost incorporated each time before adding more; scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times as you work and then continue to mix until the flour has disappeared into the dough.
  3. The dough is ready to be divided (if needed) and scooped or rolled. See my book for suggestions.
  4. Or if you'd like to make plain cookies, divide the dough into quarters and shape each piece into a disk. Working with one disk at a time, place the dough between pieces of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Slide the dough, still between the paper, onto a baking sheet—you can stack the slabs—and freeze for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  5. To bake, position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds, and heat to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silicone mats.
  6. Working with one disc at a time, peel away the paper on both sides of the dough and return the dough to one piece of paper. Use a 2-inch-diameter cookie cutter (change the size, knowing that the yield will change with it) to cut out as many cookies as you can and place them on the lined baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Gather the scraps together, then combine with scraps from the other piece of dough, re-roll, and chill before cutting and baking. If you'd like to sprinkle the cut-outs with sanding sugar, now's the time.
  7. Bake the cookies for 19 to 21 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom at the 10-minute mark, until they are golden brown around the edges and on the bottom. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely. If you'd like to ice the cookies, do it when they're completely cool.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Keisha Rigby
    Keisha Rigby
  • Melissa S
    Melissa S
  • Sarah Marx
    Sarah Marx
  • Emily Clark
    Emily Clark
With the publication her 14th book, Baking with Dorie, New York Times bestselling author Dorie Greenspan marks her thirtieth anniversary as a cookbook author. She has won five James Beard Awards for her cookbooks and journalism and was inducted into the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. A columnist for the New York Times Magazine and the author of the xoxoDorie newsletter on Bulletin, Dorie was recently awarded an Order of Agricultural Merit from the French government for her outstanding writing on the foods of that country. She lives in New York City, Westbrook, Connecticut, and Paris. You can find Dorie on Instagram, Facebook, Bulletin and her website,

9 Reviews

Keisha R. December 19, 2022
My grandmother and father loved these! Said it reminded them of the cookies my great-grandmother use to make -- that's the highest compliment! I've been on a mission to recreate her classic recipes (we've been unable to track down her recipe book) and this one is another checked off my list.... Roll as thin as you can, but I only needed to bake for able 15-18 mins for 2 1/4 inch cookie cutter. And I brushed with egg wash before sprinkling with sanding sugar for a gorgeous glossy finish.
Melissa S. May 12, 2020
I adore these cookies. I make them every Christmas, and they are perfect! Roll them thin, and they get crispy in the oven. Roll them thicker, and they stay soft and rich. I roll the dough between sheets of parchment then put them in the freezer for at least half an hour. I find the dough does best to cut out cookies if it's allowed to warm up for 3-5 minutes after coming out the freezer, depending on the thickness.
Kathryn December 20, 2018
I wanted something that was closer to a soft chewy vanilla sugar cookie. These are more like hard crisp shortbread cookies. A better baker than me could probably easily tell that from the ingredient list. Overall I thought the raw dough was 10/10 and the baked cookies were maybe 6/10. The flavor is there, the texture isn't my personal preference.
ellen March 5, 2017
These look fantastic- you can't go wrong w Dorie! I saw a great tip recently about retaining perfect shapes for cut-out cookies. Once you transfer the rolled dough between parchment to your baking sheet & chill it, remove the top parchment & cut out your 12 shapes spaced evenly- then peel off the scrap dough (it will be a lot) leaving your cookies undisturbed on the bottom parchment ready to bake!
Sarah M. December 25, 2016
These were delicious - buttery, crunchy and simple. Just a note on the cooking time: my cookies were overcooked in just 15 minutes (maybe I rolled them too thin?). Just beware, and start checking around the 12-15 minute mark
Beth100 December 22, 2016
I used this dough to make the vanilla polkadots with Swedish pearl sugar, and they were just delicious! Be sure to use the best butter you can lay your hands on, the flavor really shines through.
Emily C. December 13, 2016
Angela December 9, 2016
I have collected 3 or 4 egg whites (from large eggs) because I needed the yolks for another recipe last week (vanillekipferl from Classic German Baking!). Any ideas on how to measure out 2 egg whites from storage? Weight?
jlbriggs December 15, 2016
Hi. The weight of one large egg white is 35 grams or 1 1/4 oz. according to the King Arthur ingredient weight chart