When it comes to Christmas, I’m like Buddy The Elf. Over the top, overexcited, loud, and absolutely mad. Isn’t it fun though? Everything feels so magical and beautiful!
This year, as an early Christmas present, I got acute low back pain out of the blue. Completely debilitated and spending days lying in bed barely able to move put tremendous strains on my precious Christmas fun time. But I persevered and a Christmas miracle happened: I was able to properly stand again. I was able to walk! No pain!!
Feeling brand new I decided to take on a new challenge and do a little Holiday series on here, which is just an elaborate way of saying that I’m doing a few posts on Holiday bakes! Very very simple bakes, like these butter cookies.
They’re absolutely delightful. Very buttery – as expected – tender and crispy. The holy trinity of cookies! They are delicious on their own but also serve as base for other cookies – coming soon! They’re perfect for any kind of cutout cookies, because they actually hold their shape. And in order to do that instead of using granulated sugar, this recipe calls for confectioners’ sugar. Cookies made with granulated sugar tend to spread more. Too much butter make them spread more too, so it’s important to have the right ratio.
A few important tips: don’t grease the baking sheet, parchment paper is enough: too much grease, less friction. Less friction, the more cookies will spread.
Put the baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes before baking and make sure the oven is the right temperature. Once the cookies hit the oven the fat starts to soften and melt. Putting cookies into a cool oven means the butter will melt before the cookies set.
Having said that, if I do have one piece of advice to give though, it’s to do a better job at decorating than me. I was in a bit of a rush – trying to make up for all the time I lost when I was miserable in bed – so they turned out, well.. kinda weird. So if you want cuter looking cookies, just take your time decorating them. Don’t be like me. Don’t rush the process, enjoy the journey.
Good things take time. And so do cookies.
Holiday Butter Cookies
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup (75g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup (185g) butter
- 2 cups flour (240g)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy cream (add more as needed to make a spreadable icing)
- food coloring, optional
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla, and beat until smooth (you can also use a hand mixer).
- Add the flour, mixing until smooth and the dough comes together, but don’t over mix. The mixture might seem dry at first, but it will quickly come together. If it doesn’t, mix in a tablespoon of water.
- Shape the dough into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let it soften for about 15 minutes, until it feels soft enough to roll. It should still feel cold, but not too hard.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly coat your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough to 1/8″ thick and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. Re-roll and cut the dough scraps. Place the cookies on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets – they can be close together as they won’t spread too much.
- Pop the baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up.
- Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they’re set and just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
- To make the icing: Combine the sugar and heavy cream in a small bowl. Mix until spreadable, adding more heavy cream if necessary. (Test the consistency by glazing one cookie and set it aside for a minute, and then check the surface. If it has become smooth, it’s the right consistency.) Tint the icing with food color as desired.
- Spread icing on the cookies, using a knife or a spoon (or a piping bag) to spread it all the way to the edges.
If you make this Holiday Butter Cookies please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to each and every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your photos.