Welcome to our kitchen, where we’re about to embark on a delightful journey to create the most irresistible butter cookies you’ve ever tasted. These delicate treats are the epitome of buttery goodness, with a crisp yet soft texture that melts in your mouth with every bite. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress your taste buds and leave you craving for more.
History of Butter Cookies
Butter cookies, also known as shortbread cookies, have a rich history dating back centuries. Originating in Europe, particularly Scotland, these cookies were initially made with just three ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour. Over time, variations of the recipe emerged, incorporating additional ingredients like eggs, milk, and flavorings such as vanilla or almond extract.
Today, butter cookies are beloved worldwide for their simplicity and versatility. From classic round shapes to intricate designs, these cookies have become a staple in bakeries and households alike. Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea or as a sweet gift for loved ones, butter cookies continue to capture hearts and palates with their timeless appeal.
Ingredients for Perfect Butter Cookies
To create the perfect batch of butter cookies, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled
- Optional: 8 ounces (226g) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- Optional: Sprinkles
1. Preheat and Prepare
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
2. Cream Butter and Sugar
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter on low speed until smooth.
- Add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until well combined and creamy.
3. Incorporate Wet Ingredients
- Mix in the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract, and salt until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Add Flour
- Gradually add the all-purpose flour to the wet mixture, mixing until a cohesive dough forms. The dough may appear slightly crumbly at first but will come together with continued mixing.
5. Pipe or Scoop Dough
- Transfer half of the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip or simply use a spoon to scoop out portions of dough.
- Pipe or scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between each cookie.
6. Chill and Bake
- Chill the piped/scooped dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up the butter.
- Bake the chilled cookies in the preheated oven for 12 to 16 minutes or until set and lightly golden on the bottom.
7. Cool and Decorate
- Allow the baked cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.
- If desired, dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles before the chocolate sets.
Recipe Variations and Tips
- Temper the chocolate: For a professional finish, consider tempering the melted chocolate before dipping the cookies.
- Experiment with flavors: Add lemon or orange zest for a citrusy twist, or almond extract for a nutty flavor.
- Make sandwich cookies: Pair two cookies together with fillings like lemon curd, dulce de leche, or chocolate ganache.
- Storage: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, or freeze both dough and baked cookies for future enjoyment.
With this comprehensive recipe, you’re well-equipped to create a batch of butter cookies that’s bound to impress. Whether you’re baking for yourself or sharing with others, these irresistible treats are sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.