Butter cookies are by far one of my favorite holiday treats. Several years ago, I found a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine and fell in love with the short-bread type cookie. All. Over. Again.
And then, I lost the recipe. That’s what happens when you get divorced. You lose stuff. But that’s for another time.
I had tried a couple other recipes since then. But none quite fit the bill. Then the other night as I was Twittering, a thought occurred to me- ask someone if they have it. So I did. And you know what I got, a big zilch. Oh I got a recipe for butter cookies and it is definitely one I’ll make; but it wasn’t the recipe I so desired. And then it happened. I decided I could try to figure it out on my own. After all, how hard can it be- butter, confectioners sugar, flour and an extract. It wasn’t rocket science.
My first attempt tasted great as cookie dough, but failed miserably when it came to baking it. I didn’t have enough flour in it. So I added more, and before I knew it, I had a lovely, soft in the middle, rich, buttery and yummy cookie.
And because I love you all, I’m sharing. Here goes…
Obviously we’ll need butter:
For best results please use it at room temperature. I used salted, but if you want to use unsalted it wouldn’t mess up the cookies. I honestly don’t know why there is even salted butter in my house. I usually have unsalted. My bad.
You’re gonna wanna beat that butter until it’s creamy and super soft.
Just looking at it makes me gain weight. But it’s the holidays. Who cares, right?
Then, because you love yourself, and the people you’re making cookies for, you’re going to want to add some confectioner’s sugar and some almond extract. If you hate almond extract, and I’m not sure why you would, you could add vanilla. It wouldn’t be as good, but then I’m not eating the cookies you’re baking so add whatever you want!
Mix it in:
Until it looks like this:
Then add some flour. I don’t keep special flours around- I use unbleached. But you can use whatever kind you’d like.
Get that good and mixed in, and then add more almond extract and more flour.
Mix until it becomes “dough-like”. Typically butter cookies are chilled, rolled and cut into shapes. But I don’t bother with that.
I take tablespoons full of mixture and roll them into balls like such:
Place them on your cookie sheet or baking stone (I use a baking stone- less clean-up that way- and you can tell my stone has been well-used).
I don’t wait to let mine cool on the baking stone before placing them elsewhere, because the stone holds heat well, it has a tendency to keep baking the cookie after it’s left the oven. So put it on a cookie sheet or wax paper to cool, and be sure to eat at least one straight out of the oven. Because we all know that warm cookies are the best.
Here’s the recipe:
2 sticks (1 cup) salted, room-temperature butter
1 1/4 c confectioner’s sugar
1/2 Tbs almond extract
2 1/3 c flour
Whip butter until soft, blend in confectioner’s sugar and teaspoon of extract. Add 1 cup of flour, mix well. Then add remaining flour and extract. If you desire to chill them and roll them out, let them chill for about an hour in the ice box, or if it’s minus -20 outside, 10 minutes on the porch will do it! Otherwise, spoon the mixture into your hands and roll into golf-ball sized rounds, and bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. This yields about 20 cookies. You could double the recipe or just make a second batch. They’re so simple. It takes more time to clean up than it does to actually make the cookies!
Yields about 2 dozen.
If you do not have salted butter in your kitchen- simply add in about 1/4 tsp of salt. And like I said above you don’t have to chill the dough, but after this season (2010 Christmas) the chilled dough makes the cookies better for some reason).
Merry Christmas, and you’re welcome.
PS. I hope to, at some point this week, share my recipe for stuffed, roasted, poblano peppers. I’m hungry just thinking about them!