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Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies are a classic favorite holiday cookie but they're also great all year around! Crisp, buttery cookies with melt-in-your-mouth interiors, these are super simple with just 6 ingredients and no chilling required!
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND A LARGE ATECO 827 TIP TO PIPE THIS DOUGH, ANY SMALLER AND YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PIPE THE DOUGH.
Be sure to check out the how-to VIDEO!
Course cookie, Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword butter cookies, christmas cookies, piped cookie recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 26 cookies
Calories 146kcal
Author Sam Merritt

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (226g)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150g
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour¹ 265g ("plain flour" in the UK)

For Chocolate (optional)

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips 170g
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable shortening I use Crisco
  • Nonpareil sprinkles optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven 375F (190C)
  • In a large bowl (or, preferably, in the bowl of a stand mixer), combine butter and sugar and beat together with an electric mixer until creamy and very well-combined.
  • Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and salt and beat well. Pause to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour until the flour is completely combined. Again you should pause to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Fit a large piping bag with Ateco 827 piping tip and portion half of the cookie dough into the bag².
  • Pipe cookies into swirl shapes on an unlined, ungreased cookie sheet. Transfer to 375F (190C) preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges of cookies are just beginning to turn golden brown.
  • Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Do not pipe cookie dough onto a hot or warm cookie sheet.
  • Once cookies have cooled completely, dip in chocolate (if desired).

Chocolate

  • Combine chocolate chips and shortening in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring well in between, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  • Dip cookies in chocolate and transfer to a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Decorate with nonpareils or other sprinkles, if desired.
  • Allow chocolate to harden before enjoying. You can speed up this process by placing the cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Video

Notes

¹A few people have commented that their dough was too stiff to pipe. While the dough is a bit stiff (this is important for the cookies to hold their shape) it should not be too stiff to pipe. You will need to use an Ateco 827 tip for best results (I’ve found that most people having trouble have been using smaller tips), anything smaller or more closed will likely be too difficult to pipe.
Another possible reason for too-stiff dough is that the flour was accidentally over-measured. Please see my post about how to measure flour properly (you should lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup and then level it off, never scoop the flour directly into the measuring cup). 
²I recommend portioning just half the batter at a time because it is easier to pipe the cookie dough if there is less in the bag.

Help! I don't have the right piping tip OR My dough ended up too stiff to pipe

Don't have an Ateco 827? Don't kill your hand trying to use a smaller tip! You can instead drop the cookie dough by rounded 1 1/2 Tablespoon onto the baking sheet and use the tines of a fork to make a criss-cross pattern (like if you were making peanut butter cookies) and bake as directed.
As mentioned above, the most likely reason for being unable to pipe the dough is if the flour was over-measured (see notes above), the ingredients weren't combined well enough (especially if the butter and sugar weren't well-creamed), or if you're trying to use a piping tip that is too small.
Some people have reported success with adding a splash of milk to the dough (though keep in mind that because you have lowered the ratio of butter to other ingredients the cookies may not be as buttery/flavorful) or you can also try warming the dough in the piping bag between your hands by squeezing it before piping.

How to Store

Butter Cookies will keep for up to 2-3 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie (includes chocolate/sprinkles) | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5IU