SMiLes by Meg

Butter Cookies

Last Christmas recipe, I promise.  And these also aren’t really a Christmas-exclusive recipe, so I don’t feel bad about it.  Imagine them in shapes other than Christmas trees if it bothers you.

This is also another one of those you-kind-of-need-a-special-tool-to-make-me recipe, which is fine for me because I have that tool.  And I highly recommend you get one because of it’s unbelievable convenience.  That tool is a cookie press, and my mom got it for me for Christmas this year.  It let’s you make all of those super cute shape cookies you probably thought only mass-cookie-producing factories could make.  But alas, you can do it at home!  With this:

Butter Cookies - 1Now, mine came with 12 different discs I could use to make different shapes.  I chose to make trees, wreaths, and snowflakes for Christmas (and teddy bears because my boyfriend insisted).  I also have the option to make hearts, buttercups, shells, sunflowers, daisies, fleur de lis, leaves, and butterflies.  So you can assume this is not the last you see of my cookie press.  For my first go with it, however, I had to go with butter cookies.  Because, really, I appreciate a cookie that doesn’t try to be something its not.  It knows that people like it for its butter, so it owns it.

Also, realistically, if you don’t have a cookie press, don’t worry.  You could roll out this dough and use a cookie cutter, too.  Cookie dough is pretty forgiving with how you want to use it.

First up, cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Butter Cookies - 2Butter Cookies - 3Butter Cookies - 4If you have a handy assistant around, you can get them to do it while you take awesome action shots.  Thanks Andy!

Butter Cookies - 5Next, add the vanilla and egg and continue to beat it with the hand mixer.  The recipe says to make sure the egg is at room temperature – this is to ensure that the dough is easy to handle when you put it in the press.

Butter Cookies - 6Butter Cookies - 7Add the flour little by little, beating until its well combined.

Butter Cookies - 8Butter Cookies - 9Now comes the fun part.  Since I had never used a cookie press before, I did make a couple mistakes the first time through, but I eventually found my groove.  In case you’re wondering, this is what a disc looks like to make a wreath:

Butter Cookies - 10I have no idea who figured out that would work, but I am very impressed with them.  On the first try, I filled the press all the way up with cookie dough.

Butter Cookies - 11This is not something you want to do.  The press will refuse to press cookies until you remove some of the dough.  In later attempts I realized it’s probably better to go with about half-full (or half-empty if you’re a pessimist) to get the smoothest working pump.  Then you just put the handle on, put the press right on the cookie sheet, push down on the handle, and pull away.  In less than a minute, you’ve got a cookie sheet full of wreaths!

Butter Cookies - 12From a purely time-saving point of view, these are probably the most impressive looking cookies you can make in under an hour.  Sprinkle them with some sanding sugar, cook them for 8 to 10 minutes at 400°F, and you’re good to go.

Also, make sure to rotate the pan about halfway through the baking time.  This will make sure all the cookies get equal heat, so you don’t have 12 burnt cookies and 12 doughy cookies.  It helps, I swear.

Let them cool for a minute on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Fill up the press and repeat!

Butter Cookies - 13The other awesome part about butter cookies (other than their simplicity – only 5 ingredients!) is that they go with anything.  Everyone likes them, they’re small (which I generally believe means they don’t have calories), and when you aren’t in the mood to make anything super fancy, the cookie press makes them look fancy enough on their own.

Enjoy!

Butter Cookies - 14

Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer.
  2. Add vanilla and egg, continuing to beat until smooth.
  3. Add flour little by little, beating until well combined.
  4. Insert desired disc in cookie press, fill tube half full of dough, and press dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 400°F, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes.  Remove when cookies are golden brown around edges.
  6. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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