Vanilice – Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cookies

Vanilice Cookies

This cookie…is delicious, is a labor of love,  is a little Serbian sandwich cookie,  and is a cookie I still cannot pronounce the name to even though my husbands grandmother has told me 100 times. Vanilice (pronounced vah-ny-ly-tseh, try saying that over and over) means ‘little vanillas’ and are small Serbian cookies traditionally made for the holidays and special occasions.  My side of the family is German, and we always make little cinnamon star cookies called Zimtsterne around the holidays, so adding another difficult to pronounce cookie to the mix shouldn’t be a problem haha.

Why did I make these cookies in the first place you might ask? Well, my husband is Serbian Orthodox and the church we got married in asked me to bake 100 cookies for a fundraiser they are having and asked that I make Serbian Inspired Cookies (see some pictures below from our wedding). I of course picked these little beauties to make, not really considering the time it would take to bake all the cookies and then fill them and coat them…I think there is still powdered sugar and hiding out that didn’t get cleaned in my kitchen…but it was really worth it, the cookies are THAT good!

Serbian Wedding

There are many different versions to this recipe I’m told, the one I used was from a church cookbook called ‘Bless the Food and Drink-A Collection of Recipes by Orthodox Christian Parishes – Milwaukee and Madison, WI’

Vanilice Cookies Recipe

You know what really helped making these cookies? My amazing KitchenAid mixer….don’t have one? Enter the KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway!!

I doubled the recipe to make all the cookies, but this recipe is for about 60 finished Vanilice sandwich cookies. A few things I’ve been told about these cookies 1) use spreadable fruit or a firm jam, otherwise the filling will be runny in your cookies 2) let your cookies ‘age’ in a cool dry airtight container, but don’t put in the fridge to do this, the cookies taste better after a few days (perfect for making ahead!)

Note: I’ve since made this recipe 3 times and each time I have used this recipe and they have come out perfectly! They are best after 3-5 days time, they just melt in your mouth!

Vanilice - Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 60
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Stick Baking Vegetable Shortening
  • 2¾ Cup Flour
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Packets Oetker Vanillin Sugar (found at European Grocery Stores, or specialty grocery stores)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Jar - Smuckers brand Spreadable Fruit Raspberry-for filling cookies
  • 1-2 cups Powdered sugar- for coating cookies in
  1. Beat sugar, butter and vegetable shortening with mixer until well blended. Add egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt into the butter mixture, mix well. Divide into 2 parts, flatten between waxed paper, wrap and chill 1 hour or longer (I put mine in the freezer for 45 minutes and then transferred the dough I wasn't using into the refrigerator.)
  2. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Lay out a sheet of wax paper on a counter, then put half of one disk of dough on the wax paper, cover with another piece of wax paper and roll out to ¼-1/2 inch thickness. Remove top layer of wax paper and cut little 1 inch circles or scalloped edge circles out and put on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 13 minutes (you don't want the cookies to be brown). Cool for 5 minutes, then spread a little bit of the raspberry jam onto one side of a cookie, top it with another (don't put too much filling, you don't want it coming out the sides).
  4. Put the powdered sugar in a heap at the bottom of a bowl, and roll the stuffed cookie sandwich in the powdered sugar, put coated cookie on cooling rack to cool completely for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container, in a cool place, and let age 5-7 days before serving. Can be stored be stored for a few months in the freezer and then brought to room temperature before serving.
Another thing I loved about our wedding is that because it was Serbian Orthodox, there were a lot of Serbian Wedding Traditions that went along with the service. To explain to my friends and family what was going on, I put together a comprehensive Program explaining each of the traditions. Prior to this, the priest said he hadn’t  seen anything in such detail and in English, and ended up taking a big stack of our wedding programs for future reference lol. Yes, finding and putting together all the information in English was quite the task, but here it is, all in one place 🙂 The PDF for the program is under the pictures.

Serbian Wedding InvitesSerbian Wedding Traditions Program

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Showing 19 comments
  • Al Kelnhofer

    Phi they look belicious

    • Sweetphi

      Thanks for the comment Al & Rita! This was my first attempt at an old Serbian recipe! I would love to get some old family recipes from you to try next time I see you 🙂

  • Christina

    Seriously, these look delicious. I’m definitely going to give these a try. Thanks for posting this recipe.

    • Sweetphi

      Thanks for the comment Christina. I cannot stress enough how amazing these tasted! Good thing I had to give them away for the fundraiser, otherwise I would have eaten all of them for myself haha! But I will definitely be making these over the holidays.

  • Maria Iemma

    I am going to make a try and bake this cookies. I usually buy them by the pound and they are very expensive — I love them so maybe I will be successful. Thank you for the recipe

    • Sweetphi

      Thanks for the comment Maria, I didn’t even know they sold them by the pound, but I bet they would be expensive! This recipe is really a winner, so I hope you do try them 🙂

  • nenasinclair

    Yum, these look so delicious! Perfect for Christmas! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Ivana

    So you are our “snajka”! I was just looking for Vanilice recipe in English and ended up here. Glad you love them. Marry Christmas! Btw, you can visit my blog Dolce Fooda, where you can find many recipes for Serbian traditional dishes. Surprise your hubby!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you for your sweet comment Ivana, and Merry Christmas to you too! We are gearing up for the celebrations, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well. I will definitely check out your site and make him something Serbian, I bet he would really appreciate it!

  • Milena S.

    Thank you for posting this recipe. My parents are Serbian, and unfortunately as they get older they’ve been forgetting some of our famity recipes. I wanted to do something special for them this year and decided to make the Vanilice. They turned out perfectly and my parents were so appreciative.

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you so much for coming back and sharing the feedback! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, I actually just made them the other day, they’re so great aren’t they? Happy Holidays to you and your family 🙂

  • Vanessa Rastovic

    Thank you for posting this! I was searching everywhere for a Serbian cookie recipe to use for Christmas. This looks perfect 🙂

    • Sweetphi

      I think you’d love these cookies, they’re definitely a favorite in our household 🙂

  • Susan Milosavljevic

    You are an angel to share your program with us explaining the wedding traditions. My husband and I are both Orthodox. Do you think we know what all the traditions mean… heck no! I downloaded your .pdf to share with my kids (someday) and I will happily reference your blog. Thank you!

    • Sweetphi

      Aw, thank you so much, so glad to hear you liked this post, the program and the cookies 🙂 I love all the Serbian traditions my in-laws (and now I) celebrate 🙂

  • Susan Milosavljevic

    By the way, your photography is really good! Nice job with everything. I am happy I found you!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you -these Vanilice cookies are so delicious, and the photos are even a few years old, definitely going to redo them this Christmas so that they’re even better 🙂

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