For years and years, the only lip balm that I would use was that little tub of carmex.  You surely know the one, that round pot with a bright yellow lid.  I was convinced that it was the only lip balm that worked and I craved that tingle when you first applied it.  
I was never really sold on the taste (and, let’s be honest, you do end up tasting a fair amount) of carmex but my refusal to consider alternatives meant that I was missing out on a world of different flavours.  
I was the same when it came to moisturisers.  I’ve used the same one for about 15 years and eschewed all other options.  
Now, however, I am completed obsessed with the spiced vanilla range of products from The Body Shop.  I picked up a tub of the body butter on a whim (and because it was less than half price) and now my bathroom shelves are groaning under the weight of my collection.  In my defence, it is a seasonal product so I had to stock up…

It’s the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.  Neither the vanilla nor the spice is overwhelming.  It’s subtle but with a heady fragrance and it’s utterly luxurious.  One of my first thoughts when I smelt it was, obviously, whether I could recreate it in cookie form.  Everyone thinks that way don’t they?

The key ingredients were pretty easy to determine – my cookie needed to involve vanilla and spice.  A look at the ingredients of the body butter didn’t help hugely but I could determine some notes of nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon.  I wanted it to be more than that though, I wanted it to be the cookie equivalent of a warm fluffy towel when you get out of the bath.  
So, I turned to brown butter.  The deep nutty flavour of brown butter seems to be the closes that you can get to a hug in the culinary world.  Combined with the toffee-notes of the brown sugar, you get a wonderful rich cookie.  Memories stirred of a recipe that Jessica of The Novice Chef had posted.  A quick twitter chat confirmed that the cookies were the texture I wanted, soft and crumbly rather than crisp or chewy, and I was off.  I have converted the recipe into weights but for the original recipe in cups and to see Jessica’s beautiful pictures, please visit her site.  
Whilst I knew the cookies would be good because Jessica is a genius in the kitchen, I was pleasently surprised at how close they were to what I was hoping for.  Through the scientific method of taking a bite of cookie and then sniffing myself, I determined that they didn’t taste/smell exactly the same (which is, frankly, not bad thing) but they are a delicious approximation.  Even if you don’t have this weird addiction to The Body Shop that I do, they are still a cookie to be reckoned with.  

Spiced Vanilla Cookies
Yield: Approx 18 cookies
Adapted from The Novice Chef 


For the cookies

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 175g all purpose/plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

For rolling

  • 30g brown sugar
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of spice (I used cinnamon) 

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter is golden brown. When the butter is browned, take off the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with non-stick paper or a silicone mat.
  3. Combine the dipping sugar and spice in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to bit until just combined.
  6. Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the mixture, folding in until just mixed.
  7. Roll the dough into balls approx 3cm across and roll into the sugar and spice mixture.
  8. Place on the baking tray making sure that there’s at least 5cm between each ball and bake for 10 minutes until just golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  

    23 Responses to "spiced vanilla cookies"
    1. Wonderful – loving the idea of vanilla and brown butter – they look like they would melt in your mouth…

    2. Jenny says:

      These look delicious! I love the body shop but I tend to just buy my regular products and disregard the seasonal products, I might have to stop off on the way home and see if they have any of this range left in my local one. Anything that inspires cookies can’t be bad!

    3. Dizzy Lizzie says:

      I love the Body Shop Lippys! Mine just got over and Ialready miss it!

    4. Such a great inspiration for your cookies! These look wonderful!

    5. These look lovely. I love the Body Shop lines, too! I would love some of these in my cookie jar :) oh, and BROWN BUTTER = yessss!

    6. Thank you for introducing me to the joy that is The Novice Chef – her blog is fab! And your cookies look absolutely fab – love that they were inspired by The Body Shop!

    7. london bakes says:

      @Skye – They really do!

      @Jenny – They have a candied ginger range as well which is really nice (but not as nice as the vanilla obviously!) and I think they’re all on sale at the moment.

      @Dizzy Lizzie – I hadn’t been there for ages but I’d forgotten about how good the stuff is!

      @Beth – Thank you very much!

      @Julie – As soon as I started browning the butter, I knew these would be good!

      @thelittleloaf – No problem, I love Jessica’s blog!

    8. Jen says:

      brown butter + vanilla ? Count me in! Especially for lip balm inspired cookies.

      These seem just perfect.

    9. Angharad says:

      Oh my god, I LOVE that you made a cookie to remind you of body shop products. Ha! You are awesome.

    10. london bakes says:

      @Rachel – Thank you! They are pretty darn tasty :D

      @Jen – It’s such a perfect combination isn’t it?

      @Angharad – Either awesome or slightly unhinged. I didn’t tell anyone who I fed these to what the inspiration was!

    11. I am a sucker for anything and everything under The Body Shop label. I don’t like any other brand. Works for me :D

      Those cookies are perfectly drool-worthy!

    12. Amy says:

      Hahah you’re hilarious, can’t believe your first thought when using that lotion was to translate it into a cookie! But I’m glad you did, these look amazing. Love the warm fluffy towel equivalent.

    13. I love spiced cookies. These sound fabulous!

    14. Deanna says:

      You could put brown butter on an old shoe and I would eat it. Putting it in a cookie with vanilla and cinnamon sounds like a much tastier option though.

    15. london bakes says:

      @Amy – It did scare me slightly that that was my first thought…lol

      @Cassie – Thank you!

      @Deanna – Yup, I can confirm that these cookies are definitely tastier than than a shoe!

    16. Ha! Great post girl….I actually JUST finished using a VANILLA SUGAR Body Butter as I started reading your post. Spppoooooky! Friday the 13th kinda spooky ;)

      Anyway, loved how you made a recipe from lip balm and moisturiser inspiration. Go girl x

    17. Oh wow – do these ever look delicious! Spiced vanilla is a great flavour!

    18. tori says:

      Just beautiful. Add a cup of tea and some time with a book and I’d be right as rain.

    19. Love the link between lip gloss and biscuits! Original.

    20. these sound perfect.the spices, the vanilla, and I am a huge vanilla anything fan..candles, lotion, bodyspray, in cookies :)

    21. london bakes says:

      @Elaina – That was either a spooky coincidence or we just have too many vanilla bath products ;)

      @Steve – They taste even better than they look!

      @Tori – Sounds like a perfect afternoon!

      @Sally – Yes, I think I’m going to call it original rather than crazy ;)

      @Averie – Me too, I don’t even remember the last time that I baked something that didn’t have a touch of vanilla in it!

    22. rosa says:

      Gracias por la receta

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>