Buttery, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness! Nothing like old-fashioned butter cookies! Betcha can’t eat just one!


My private messenger chats with my sisters and cousins are the most random things I’ve ever witnessed. One second, we’re talking about weird dreams, and the next, we’re reminiscing about Royal Dansk butter cookies.

Memba’ them?

They came in that blue tin, and everybody’s grandma had an empty one that she stored sewing supplies or other junk in.  

 Well, we all sat there on Messenger, discussing how much we loved/hated these cookies.  We picked them apart and left no stone unturned. I still giggle at how we can chat about absolutely nothing for hours and love every minute of it, just like when we were kids.

My sister stated that she didn’t care for them because they had no business calling them butter cookies with such a barely-there butter flavor. 

As I studied and devoured my tin of Royal Dansk cookies like I was a Food Network judge, I had to agree. Where was the butteriness?? Where was the crisp, melt-in-your-mouth texture that the best butter cookies are known for? 

Actually,  I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had a really good homemade butter cookie.

Hmmmm…you already know what was about to happen. Yep, it’s time to make butter cookies!!

What are butter cookies?

Butter cookies are classic cookies known for their rich, buttery flavor, and crisp texture. The flavor is lightly sweetened with warm notes of butter and vanilla. Similar to shortbread cookies, they are very popular around the holidays and are often given as Christmas cookie gifts.

Traditionally, butter cookies are made with very simple ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. But they are so easy to change up with different flavorings and extracts to create flavored butter cookies.

I love using my cookie press with  butter cookies. The dough is a dream to work with, and you can create some pretty cool designs!  

Grab the tea and coffee because these little guys are the perfect companion.

Tips for making the BEST Butter Cookies

  • Use fresh, quality ingredients. Butter cookies have few ingredients, so it’s important to use fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best taste! I like to use Mexican vanilla, farmer’s market unsalted butter, and fresh eggs from my sweet hen girls, whenever I can.
  • Use room-temperature butter– Let the butter sit out so that it is soft before creaming it with the shortening and sugar. This will give you an incredible finished texture.
  • Don’t overake- Because these cookies are light in color, it can be difficult to tell when they are done. Once the edges of the cookies turn barely golden, they are ready. Overbaking will create dry cookies that don’t have the melt-in-your mouth texture.
  • Chill the dough- In order for the cookies to maintain their shape and not spread in the oven, the dough needs to be chilled.
crisp butter cookies recipe

Butter cookie dough is perfect for the cookie press. There are so many fun designs that make them even more irresistible. Here is the cookie press I have from Amazon.

If you do not have a cookie press, then you can simply roll the dough into small logs, slice it into circles, place them on the baking sheet and chill. Or you can wrap the logs of dough in plastic wrap and chill until you are ready to use.

Alternatively, you can use an open star tip  (1/2 inch opening)on a piping bag.  Simply pipe the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet.

How to Make Old-Fashioned Butter Cookies Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature – This is main flavoring for the cookies.It  gives an authentic buttery flavor.
  • Butter-flavored shortening– Enhances the butter flavor while helping the cookies maintain their shape while baking.
  • Granulated sugar- Used to sweeten the cookies and provide a crisp texture. Creaming the sugar with butter and shortening creates an airiness, that helps these cookies achieve their light and delicate flavor.
  • Sea salt- Balances the sweetness.
  • Large Egg Yolks- Add richness to the batter while deepening the yellow color and acting as a binding agent.
  • Pure Vanilla extract- Compliments the butter flavor.
  • Butter emulsion (optional)– Kicks the butter flavor up even more. (Here is the one I use from Amazon)
  • All-purpose flour- Provides structure for the cookies

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening.
  3. Add sugar and salt and mix until creamed thoroughly.
  4. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and butter emulsion if using.
  5. Mix until well combined, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Stir in the flour a little at a time using a rubber spatula or large spoon until all the flour is combined and a soft, uniformed dough has formed. (I like to knead the dough a little bit with my hands to get all of the flour worked in)
  7. Load the dough into your cookie press and press the cookies out onto the baking sheet (You can place the cookies close together since this is the pan that will go into the fridge. If you find the dough too soft for the cookie press, you can chill it for a bit)
  8. Place the tray of cookies into the fridge for 1 hour. 
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F and move the rack to the middle position.
  10. Line another baking sheet  with parchment paper and place the cold cookies on the pan about 1- 2 inches apart. (You’ll need to work in batches, so keep the remaining cookies in the fridge until ready to bake)
  11. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until the edges are golden. (may need more or less time so keep an eye on it at the 13 minute mark)
  12. Once done, let cookies sit on the pan until the pan is cool to the touch. (Do not try to remove the cookies before they have firmed up. They will be very fragile but will crisp up as they cool.)
  13. Once cookies are firm and crisp, place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Common questions:

Can I replace the shortening with butter? Yes, you can replace the shortening with butter, but the texture will be a bit different. Spectrum make an all-vegetable based butter-flavored shortening that’s great.

Can I use cookie cutters for these cookies? Sure can! If using cookie cutters, make sure that the dough has been chilled before cutting out the shapes and before baking, to prevent it from spreading in the oven.

Do I have to chill the dough before placing it into the cookie press? No, however if you find the dough it is too sticky, you can chill it first. I usually don’t chill the dough before pressing out the shapes though.

butter cookies recipe

Change it up!

Butter cookies are perfect plain but so easy to change up to match any theme. Here are my favorite ways to jazz up butter cookies! 

  • Dip It- Dip half (or all) of the butter cookie in melted chocolate, almond bark, or colored candy coating.
  • Sprinkles-  Gently press festive sprinkles into the cookies before baking.
  • Color them! Adding food coloring into the sugar mixture to create colorful butter cookies to match your theme.
  • Extracts & Flavorings- Throw in some coffee extract, almond extract or orange extract for a big flavor boost! Play around with different flavorings like cinnamon or strawberry! 

butter cookies

Get the Recipe: Old-Fashioned Butter Cookies

5 from 10 ratings
Buttery, crisp, light and melt-in-your-mouth goodness! Nothing like homemade, old-fashioned butter cookies!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Servings: 50 cookies

Ingredients
 

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup butter-flavored shortening
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, (can add up to 1 cup for sweeter cookies)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon butter emulsion (optional)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned into measuring cup and leveled)

Instructions
 

  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. (see note) Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, softened, ½ cup butter-flavored shortening
  • Add sugar and mix until fluffy and uniform in color (about 2 minutes)
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • Add salt, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and butter emulsion, if using.
    2 large egg yolks, 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon butter emulsion (optional), ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Mix until well combined, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Stir in the flour a little at a time using a rubber spatula or large spoon until all the flour is combined and a soft, uniformed dough has formed. (I like to knead the dough a little bit with my hands to get all of the flour worked in)
    2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Load the dough into your cookie press according to manufacturer's instructions. Press the cookies out onto prepared baking sheet (You can place the cookies close together since this is the pan that will go into the fridge. If you find the dough too soft for the cookie press, you can chill it for a bit)
  • Place the tray of cookies into the fridge for 1 hour. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. and move the rack to the middle position.
  • Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and place the cold cookies on the baking sheet about 1-2 inches apart. (You'll need to work in batches, so keep the remaining cookies in the fridge until ready to bake)
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges are golden. (may need more or less time so keep an eye on it after the 13 minute mark.)
  • Once done, let cookies sit on the pan until the pan is cool to the touch. (Do not try to remove the cookies before they have firmed up. They will be very fragile but will crisp up as they cool.)
  • Once cookies are firm and crisp, place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Video

Notes

A silicone baking mat seems to work best for pressing out the cookies. However, parchment will do as well. You may have to give the press a little wiggle to release the cookie after it’s pressed.
If you find the dough too dry, you can add a few drops of milk.
Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Dessert
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.