These homemade butter cookies are super easy to make with just 8 basic ingredients. For a rich buttery flavour, use good-quality Danish butter and premium vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Make cookies extra special by dipping in melted chocolate, and sprinkling your favourite funfetti!
You know you’ll always need a good butter cookie recipe! Butter cookies are the simplest of cookies to make at home and are a joy to devour when they are made these good.
These butter cookies are …
- Extra buttery! Each cookie has the richness of a Danish butter cookie, but a tender texture that’s closer to a melting moments cookie or a soft shortbread cookie.
- Super flavourful. To accentuate the sweet buttery taste, these cookies are also flavoured with vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla bean paste which will give your cookies those pretty peperred flecks, or almond extract for added flavour.
- Lovely cookie crumb. These cookies have crisp edges, and softer centers that don’t crumble or break apart easily. The best way for me to describe it is like the texture of a soft shortbread cookie.
- Pipe-able to make your favourite cookie shapes and designs. This cookie dough pipes beautifully when at the right consistency. Have fun piping your favourite shapes and patterns.
One cookie dough makes assorted varieties!
I love plain butter cookies with a cup of tea or coffee, but they are so perfect as holiday cookies too. I’ve made assorted varieties with just one cookie dough, and it’s so much fun.
- Chocolate-dipped butter cookies. Dip baked cookies in melted chocolate, like Viennese-styled butter cookies. This is a win-win combination I’m sure no one can resist!
- Funfetti cookies. Dip baked cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkle over with your favourite funfetti or sprinkles, before the chocolate sets.
- Jam cookies. It’s so easy to turn these into jam or thumbprint cookies. Roll the dough into balls or pipe cookie rounds. Press the centers with the back of a spoon and fill with your favourite jam before baking.
- Sandwich cookies. Make a sandwich cookie out of two baked cookies with a jam, chocolate or cream filling.
These are just a few varieties, but I think you’ll love how versatile this butter cookie dough is.
Ingredients for butter cookies
- Butter, at room temperature. For a rich and superbly buttery flavour, I recommend using a premium quality butter with a high butter fat content like Danish butter.
- Caster sugar. Fine or caster sugar gives these cookies a slight crispness just where we want it, at the edges and a distinct sweetness. It also helps leaven the cookie dough when creamed with butter, and give the cookies lift.
- Confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar). This recipe uses a combination of caster sugar and confectioner’s sugar. Like regular sugar, confectioner’s sugar here adds sweetness to the cookies, but more than that, it creates a finer and more tender cookie crumb.
- Egg. An egg helps bind everything together, and gives the cookies structure and added flavour.
- Plain or all-purpose flour. I use regular plain flour.
- Corn flour. Corn flour contributes to a tender crumb.
- Vanilla extract. When it comes to butter cookies, pure vanilla extract is the way to go for a deep, vanilla-flavoured butter cookie. This is the only other flavouring ingredient in your cookie dough, besides butter, so use your best!
- Salt. Everything tastes better with salt, believe me! Salt helps balance the sweetness of the sugars, and accentuates the richness of the butter. I actually prefer to use salted butter when making this cookie dough. If you use unsalted butter, add fine salt and mix well together with the flours to distribute it evenly.
- Milk. This cookie dough is thick, and milk is added to make it into a pipe-able consistency.
How to make butter cookies
Make the cookie dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with handheld beaters, cream butter and both sugars until light and smooth.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, until well combined.
- Tip in the sifted flours and on the lowest mixer speed, start with a gentle stir. I recommend wrapping a tea towel around the mixer bowl to prevent the plumes of powdered flour blowing everywhere!
- Increase to medium speed and beat until the dough is creamy and smooth. If the dough feels too thick to pipe, beat in 2 to 3 teaspoons of milk. You want the dough to be pipe-able, but still thick. Just be aware that the more milk you add, the more the cookies will spread too so start with less milk, and add more only if you need to.
Pipe cookies, chill and bake
- Fit a large piping bag with a large piping tip like Wilton 1M open-star or close-star or Ateco 827. I highly recommend filling the bag with a small amount of cookie dough first. It will be easier to apply a consistent pressure as you pipe each cookie round.
- Line baking trays with silicon or baking sheets. Pipe cookie rounds, spacing them 1.5 – 2 inches apart. Chill for 15 to 30 minutes. Remember – if you’ve added more milk, a longer chilling time is needed. Chilling is essential to prevent cookies from spreading too much as they bake. Do not chill the cookie dough before piping, as it will become too hard and stiff to pipe.
- Bake in a preheated oven set to 175°C (350°F) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookie edges just start to brown.
- Once removed from the oven, allow cookies to cool on the tray for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a metal rack to cool completely.
Tips for piping
- This cookie dough is thick, so a large piping tip is recommended. I find large star tips the best, especially the open-star pattern. Deeper and tighter ridges create a more defined texture, so those deep swirls won’t flatten out as much after baking.
- When filling the piping bag, start with a bit of cookie dough. Pipe a test cookie. If you find the cookie dough still too thick to pipe smoothly, you can easily pop it back with the rest of the cookie dough in the mixer bowl, and beat in a bit more milk. This is also a good way to see if you like the cookie pattern, and switch the piping tip if desired.
- When piping, apply an even and controlled squeeze on the piping bag. Pipe cookies in a circular pattern, and flick the tip sideways or upwards to end the cookie round.
How to store butter cookies
These butter cookies will keep well in an air-tight container for up to a week. Once baked and cooled, butter cookies also freeze well. Freeze baked cookies, plain without chocolate coating or edible decorations. Keep them in a tightly-sealed freezer bag, and freeze for up to a month.
How to make ahead
The cookie dough can be made in advance and kept in the chiller for up to 2 days. Wrap it in several layers of clingwrap or in a tightly sealed ziploc bag when ready to chill the cookie dough. It can also be freezed for up to a month.
On the day you bake, allow the chilled cookie dough to come to room temperature because it needs to be soft enough to pipe. Frozen cookie dough should sit in the chiller overnight to thaw, before taking out to room temperature.
Want more buttery treats? Here are more you might enjoy:
- Sugee Cookies – Makes Melt-in-Your-Mouth Magic!
- Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip & Nut Cookies
- Very Rich Butter Cake
- Vanilla Pound Cake – Ultra Moist and Buttery!
- Soft and Moist Chocolate Vanilla Marble Cake