The Best Ever Butter Cookies
Butter cookies have always been one of my vices. Soft and creamy, melt in your mouth cookies that, at one point in time, I thought I could only get from the store, have been one of those special treats I only bought myself on special occasions. Every chance I got, during the holidays, and I mean every holiday, birthday parties, and even dinner invites, I went and bought a box of these amazing cookies.
For years I tried to make them myself, and for some reason could never figure them quite out. No matter how hard I tried I could never get them to taste like the scrumptious ones at the store.
I'm truly a baker at heart. Food is one of my biggest passions, and I love working with it all, but I struggled with desserts for a long time. Seriously, I couldn't make chocolate chips cookies or a chocolate pie without screwing it up somehow. It was very depressing. Thankfully the grocery store was nearby. And then one year it all just clicked. Fortunately it was just after getting married and so my family has been able to benefit from it. The cookies, pastries, breads, pies and all other desserts I wished to make with all of my heart were now within my grasp.
I started slowly with the easy recipes like basic sugar cookies and chocolate pie, of course using the pie crusts from the store. One baby step at a time, right? I finally learned how to make fruit pies like cherry and apple, and bumped up to making snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies. Although, it wasn't until after learning how to make my own pie crusts from scratch and successfully make just about any recipe work for me that I learned how to make butter cookies.
In truth, my first butter cookies came from a recipe. A friend of mine had brought some wonderful butter cookies to a party that I couldn't tell had not been purchased from the store, and she was generous enough to share her recipe with me. Since then I have changed up a few things and made it my own, and now I'm sharing it with you. I hope these bring as much pleasure to you as they have to me.
- 1 cup real butter
- 1 cup organic cane sugar, (so they are still white)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, homemade preferred
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch pink Himalayan salt
- First things first. In a large bowl, cream your butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until smooth. Then add in your vanilla and stir in well.
- In a separate medium bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder).
- Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients, and mix both into each other well, until you have a dough type consistency.
- Cover your bowl with saran wrap and chill for an hour in the refrigerator.
- In the meantime, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Cover several cookie sheets in parchment paper.
- When your cookie dough has chilled for an hour, remove it from the refrigerator and make small 1/2" to 3/4" balls. (If balls aren't your thing and you'd rather pipe them, shape them, press them or even cut them, that's fine. Balls are just my preference.)
- Place each ball about an 1 1/2 inch apart on the cookie sheet.
- I suggested several cookie sheets to be prepared so that you can be preparing one while two are in the oven. If you have more cookies to bake, you can simply wait for the other two to cool before adding more cookie dough balls.
- Bake your cookies for about 20 minutes until just before they are golden brown on top. You don't want them in there long enough to fully brown.
- Allow to cool and then enjoy! Yummy!
- Once cool, feel free to ice them, dip them in chocolate, or even sprinkle them with crushed nuts or coconut. I've tried them all over the years.
|Serving size: 2 cookies|
|Calories from Fat||45|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 5 g||8%|
|Carbohydrates 13 g||4%|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 0 g|
|Cholesterol 19 mg||6%|
|Sodium 55 mg||2%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
When trying to use healthier ingredients in your recipes, there are some truly simple switches that you can make that will make a world of difference in your diet but keep the basic integrity of your recipe.
One of those is using real butter (grass-fed) instead of margarine or spreadable butter with canola or some other type of oil in it. The wrapper should say "real grass-fed butter" on it. You can use real butter the exact same as you would have the alternative, in the same quantities and everything, with no problems.
Sugar is another ingredient that has an easy replacement. In most recipes, white sugar can be replaced with real organic honey (not the kind you buy at the grocery store), and brown sugar can be replaced with coconut sugar. Unless of course you need sugar the sprinkle or roll cookies in, and then of course, you'll need to use the coconut sugar. This switch can be made easily as you would use the same amount of either in your recipe.
I use my own homemade vanilla extract rather than using store-bought. It's only vodka and vanilla seed pods steeped for a long while in glass jars in my pantry, but that would definitely take some serious prior planning on your part.
In lieu of white refined flour, I use whole wheat flour. In this case as the whole wheat is much thicker and denser than white, you would want to use less in your recipe than you typically would white flour, or just use white whole wheat. In the case of this recipe, I would only use 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour so that the cookies still came out light and fluffy. Other alternative flours could be used as well but I would find a recipe using them before jumping in whole hog.
I buy my baking soda organic from my local Sprouts and use pink Himalayan salt instead of table salt. If you are looking for some healthier options without having to give up your vices, like me, I hope some of these simple tips help.
I'm definitely not at the point where I can ice my cookies perfectly like the professionals. Honestly, I don't think I'm at the point where I can make flat cookies in my desired shapes worthy of being iced like the professionals. Maybe one day I'll get there too.
But these cookies are so versatile. If you have the talent and are so inclined, there are endless ideas for using this recipe. Speaking of recipes, since originally publishing my recipe for butter cookies I have given up all refined sugars and flours and no longer use processed foods, which seriously changes the way this recipe was originally put together.
But there are tons of better ingredients you can use and much a healthier way to create this delicacy. I used organic cane sugar and white whole wheat flour to keep my cookies traditionally white for presentation purposes, but if you don't care about presentation, I would typically just use my raw local honey and whole wheat flour.
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness