You know those cookies in the blue tins you see in grocery stores and pharmacies during the holidays? Maybe you've had them at your grandma's or in the office. We all love them.
They're not so hard to make at home. And the results are more tender, crumbly and can be slightly less sweet than those tinned cookies. There's really no comparison with homemade.
We piped our dough into circles using a large star tip and sprinkled the top with sugar for crunch and sparkle. But you can use a smaller star tip and pipe them as bars or use a cookie press for a variety of shapes. You can also dip any shape into melted white or regular chocolate and decorate with sprinkles to dress them up. Check the end of this post for tips and options.
This recipe, adapted from one by @browneyedbaker, makes about 36 cookies. They freeze well and can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for around a week. They travel well, too - you can even fill your own tin!
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- coarse granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In your stand mixer, fitted with SideSwipe or your flat beater, beat the softened butter and sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the salt, vanilla and egg, and beat until combined, about 1 minute.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour until mostly combined. Give a final few stirs with a rubber spatula to ensure the flour is totally incorporated (the dough will be quite thick). You don't want to overmix this dough, which can toughen up the cookies.
- Transfer the dough to a decorating bag fitted with a large open star tip. Pipe the dough into 2-inch circles on the parchment paper or silicone baking mats. TIP: This technique takes a little while and a little muscle to get the rhythm. If your first couple of tries look bad, just add the dough back into the decorating bag. Straight bars are a little simpler, so if you're a beginning piper or have small children working with you, you may want to try straight shapes or using a cookie press.
- Sprinkle with sugar or oven safe sprinkles. Don't use the larger round dragees, as many will melt in the oven.
- Bake, one pan at a time, until light golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.
Notes and variations
- Use good-quality butter (we like Challenge and Kerrygold). Butter is the main flavor here, so if you can afford it, splurge.
- You can substitute an equal amount of vanilla bean paste for the vanilla extract to give the cookies little flecks of vanilla.
- Tips that will give you shapes like our photos include Wilton 1M and Ateco 827.
- If you're not an experienced piper or are working with kids, try a cookie press to create a variety of cookie shapes.
- You can also make sandwich cookies with these, as they are firm but tender. We filled with melted chocolate for the photos below. You might also try Nutella or white chocolate.
- All shapes of these butter cookies look great dipped in chocolate and/or decorated with sprinkles. Plain is elegant, but sprinkles make them more fun!