Cookies Dessert Holiday Cookies Holidays

Vanilla Sandwich Cookies

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Vanilla Sandwich Cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and bursting with tons of real vanilla flavor ~ this easy cookie recipe is a hit with adults and kids alike.

Holiday cookies can inspire memories for a lifetime

I’m inspired by the memory of a big box of homemade cookies that was delivered to our doorstep every December when I was growing up.  My mother’s best friend packed an unbelievable variety of cookies into a huge box, the kind meant for a bathrobe, or a coat.  Each treat was nested in it’s own little space and the finished product looked like a tantalizing mosaic of delights.  I suppose it’s possible that my memory is embellishing this vision of Christmases past, but in those days women really did have a little more time on their hands to devote to holiday baking, and some of them went all out.

These vanilla cookies have a surprisingly complex flavor

I’m starting off my virtual cookie box with plain vanilla.  The cookie itself is flecked with vanilla bean seeds, and the filling has an extra shot of vanilla extract just so you don’t miss the point.  I’ve even included a chocolate filling for you types who just can’t help yourself when it comes to chocolate.

Filled cookies are fun, but I wouldn’t normally go to the trouble.  But that’s what the holiday baking season is all about, going one or two steps beyond the everyday.  And these cookies are worth it.  And if chocolate is more your thing, try my Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies or my Nutella Sandwich Cookies.

TIP: These vanilla sandwich cookies are nice and sturdy, so they make a good choice for giving and shipping.

The cookie itself is a little crunchy, a little chewy. The fillings are so much fresher and richer than anything you’d find ready made.  Go ahead and fill them as full as you want.

TIP: The filling is infinitely variable, add a teaspoon of instant espresso to the vanilla filling for a delicious coffee flavor.  Or add almond extract, or a touch of food coloring.  Substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla extract in the chocolate filling.  Have fun with them!

Other Christmas treats to check out:

Add to Your Recipe Box
3.69 from 22 votes

Vanilla on Vanilla Sandwich Cookies

Vanilla Sandwich Cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and bursting with tons of real vanilla flavor ~ this easy cookie recipe is a hit with adults and kids alike.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Yield 2 dozen


dry ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

wet ingredients

  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs

vanilla filling

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • milk or cream for thinning

chocolate filling

  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • milk or cream for thinning


  • set oven to 375F
  • In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter, then beat in the sugar and vanilla bean seeds and beat until creamy.
  • Beat in the eggs and blend well. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.
  • Using a small scoop (1 inch) drop the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, 3 inches apart (these cookies will spread a bit).
  • Bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  • Fill the cooled cookies with the vanilla (or chocolate) filling and sandwich them together, pressing lightly to spread the filling to the edges of the cookie.
  • To make the fillings, mix the ingrdients together until smooth and creamy. Add enough milk or cream to get a thick but spreadable consistency.


Filling variations

  • Ready made jam
  • Jarred caramel sauce 
  • Nutella


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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Teri Bannon
    May 31, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Sue, I made the vanilla sandwich cookie with the vanilla filling as part of a care package for my son. They were delicious! I did have a difficult time getting the cookie shapes to have more of a round shape, like in your photos. Any tips?

  • Reply
    March 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Can you substitute pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean?

    • Reply
      March 15, 2015 at 10:23 am


  • Reply
    February 7, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Mmmm pinned these for the cookies, I’ve been searching for a yummy cookie with a bit of a crispyness and these are them. So good and the packaging is so cute!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Has anyone ever tried vanilla bean paste in this recipe instead of the scrapings from a vanilla bean and if so how much?

    • Reply
      December 15, 2014 at 11:50 am

      I believe you can use 1 tsp vanilla bean paste for 1 vanilla bean Kyra.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Mine are not as flat as the pic. They are kinda of puffy actually but still taste great.

  • Reply
    Ruth Cobb
    August 29, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Years ago, we would make cookies and candy for Xmas gifts. My friends from the office would come over, everybody bringing supplies and recipes. We would have a marathon day of baking and candy making and everyone would get a variety of goodies to take home. So fun, the good old days

  • Reply
    Ruth Cobb
    August 29, 2013 at 7:42 am

    This looks good. Remarkably close to the Pepperidge Farm Milanos? I’ve been wanting a recipe close to those and this might be it.

  • Reply
    Sulpicia (III)
    November 9, 2012 at 12:34 am

    5 stars
    These were delicious and adorable. Nice job!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Yum! These look dangerous, like the kind of cookie I would eat too many of before I realize how many I’ve had.
    Love the little virtual cookie box! How fun! 🙂

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      I think the reason I usually don’t make sandwich cookies like this is that, when you break down and eat one, you’ve actually eaten two!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    November 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    The chocolate buttercream called me, too 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    November 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    What a terrific idea Sue! I love to bake at the holidays and am even happier when they are gone so I’ll quit eating them all! Lovely cookie and the chocolate buttercream is really calling to me – by name 🙂 Love the virtual cookie box. So creative.

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    November 8, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Cute idea! I can’t wait to see what else gets packed into your virtual box. Working full time makes it very difficult to bake large varieties of Christmas Cookies. By the time I get the day off I usually have shopping and wrapping to do. I have on occasion frozen some cookie dough to bake at a later date.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Yeah, frozen cookie dough is the way to go. In the past few years my cookie gifts have gotten pretty tiny…I try to make up for it with Martha Stewart type packaging!

  • Reply
    Shannon Phillips
    November 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    These look delicious! I cant wait to make some!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2012 at 4:23 am

    These look delicious, Sue! The cookies look perfectly thin and crispy chewy. I love all the flavor combinations you mentioned too. Can hardly wait to see your line-up!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks Mary—I really wanted to make the espresso filling so bad, I guess I’ll have to revisit these at some point.

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    November 8, 2012 at 3:43 am

    They look delicious..I love the box too:-)

  • Reply
    l o v e l y t h i n g s
    November 8, 2012 at 3:31 am

    okay…I’m really hungry, but my mouth is watering as I look at your blog tonight. Sweet, no savory….I just want it all! Your cookies all boxed up look adorable and delicious! Where did you find those perfect little boxes?

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Since I’ve been blogging I’ve been saving boxes, bottles, and stuff like crazy. This is just a recycled box, but I’ve noticed that the wedding aisle at places like Michaels etc, have similar little boxes, meant for favors.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2012 at 3:16 am

    They look pretty. Can’t wait to see what other recipes you make… but I love your clever virtual cookie box and can’r wait to see it’s patchwork evolve. It will be regarded as “my” virtual gift!
    You are a fun blogger, Sue!

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    November 8, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Great cookies – they look so crisp and delicious and the scrumptious filling – YUM
    Mary x

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      It’s funny because the recipe said they were soft vanilla cookies, but mine turned out to be slightly crisp. I think you can make them soft or crisp depending on the size of cookie, your oven, etc.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Yes please!!!!

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    November 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Wow, these look lovely. Sandwich cookies are my favorite kind–I’ll take almost any cookie and any filling! I am definitely making these.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      It’s pretty mind boggling to start imagining all the combinations possible here…one could gain a few pounds just thinking about it!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    i’m quite the opposite of you–cookie time is the time at my bakery that i dread all year. sure, they’re fun to make in regular batches, but when you’re churning them out by the 1000s, it ain’t so great. 🙂

  • Reply
    the gardener's cottage
    November 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    these really do look delicious sue. your story reminds me of my husband’s grandmother. every christmas she’d bake a variety of cookies for all the kids and grandkids in her family, which was a lot btw. she’d save cereal boxes all year long and them cut the side out to make a sort of make-shift lid and then line them in wax paper and wrap the box in holiday paper. when you opened it there were abot 8 rows of different kinds of cookies. it truly was my favorite gift i’d receive. so much love and effort went into ea box. i think i’m going to start the same tradition. beautiful photos too!!!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      I love that! I can just see her carefully saving the cereal boxes. My great grandmother used to save every greeting card she ever received, she had boxes full of them by the time she was in her 90s. She also drove everybody crazy at Christmas because she would carefully open her presents, undoing every piece of tape without ripping the paper, so she could save it—it took her ages to open one gift! That was a great generation!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    November 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I have been baking cookies like a banchee this week too! I am traveling in Dec so holiday baking is currently in full force and it’s been cookies! I love the looks of these – I love vanilla, hugely, and these look delish!

  • Reply
    hobby baker
    November 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Coffee filling, oh yeah, I am doing that. Can’t wait to see what else goes in your virtual cookie box!