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Best Butter Cookies

Best Butter Cookies

It’s hard to beat a good butter cookie. It’s also hard to find one that is just the right combination of crispness, tenderness and a good buttery flavor. Bakeries – even otherwise good ones – are filled with bland “butter cookies” topped with a variety of colorful sprinkles to lure you into giving them a chance. I stick to making my own butter cookies these days, especially since I found a recipe that makes the best butter cookies I’ve ever had.

The recipe is from Pam Anderson, a food writer who is a former editor of Cook’s Illustrated, whose work is regularly published in USA Weekend, and the author of several cookbooks. Her all purpose butter cookies are simple, delicious and very versatile, so hers has been my go-to recipe since I first clipped it out of the paper years ago. The dough is very easy to put together and makes a great batch of slice-and-bake cookies that you can decorate with sprinkles or nuts. There is no leavening in this dough and the cookies will spread slightly, but hold their shape well, during baking. This means that the dough also works well as dough for spritz cookies, which are made by putting cookie dough through a cookie press (common around Christmas) and pressing it into different designs.

The dough can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. The dough is sticky when it is warm, so you need a well-floured surface to work on. That said, this is a good feature because it means that you can work with the dough quite a bit (if you want to try making cutout cookies, for instance) without the dough toughening up. I usually stick with the slice-n-bake cookies, rolling the edges of the cookie logs in sprinkles or nuts before slicing them into individual cookies on the cookie sheet. The cookies above have been rolled in sprinkles and in shredded coconut.

Pam Anderson’s All Purpose Butter Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
chopped nuts, coconut, sprinkles or sugar, for decorating

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg, egg yolk, vanilla and salt and mix well. Gradually, with the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour until a smooth dough comes together.
Divide dough in half and shape each piece into a log roughly 2-inches across. Wrap in wax paper or parchment paper and freeze for about 2 hours, or until firm. Dough can also be stored for several days in the fridge (several weeks in the freezer, well-wrapped).

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take the logs of chilled dough and cut each in half. Dough may need to soften for a few minutes. Roll each smaller log in finely chopped nuts, coconut, sprinkles or coarse sugar. Cut logs into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer cookie rounds to prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies just begin to brown around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 4-5 dozen cookies

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37 Comments
  • EBPitcher
    December 18, 2009

    To make spritz cookies, would you skip the chilling and bake right away?

  • Nicole
    December 18, 2009

    EBPitcher – No, you would still chill the dough (let it soften slightly if frozen) and then put it in your cookie press.

  • Archie
    December 18, 2009

    Is it possible to make any spritz cookies without eggs? And in this recipe, is it rolled over sprinkles and then baked?

  • Ria
    December 20, 2009

    Loved your butter cookies!

  • Jeanette
    December 21, 2009

    If you take out the egg, it will be more of a shortbread cookie.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a butter cookie. Does the egg make it lighter than shortbread?

  • Candace
    December 25, 2009

    I made these and loved them! I really like good butter cookies and this one is the best I’ve tried and so quick and easy to make! Thanks!

  • Teresa
    December 28, 2009

    These turned out delicious for me! I haven’t made cookies in years and did not have a lot of time before Christmas this year. But they were quick and easy to make and we had them Christmas Eve. I rolled the dough in chocolate jimmies, pearl sugar, red sugar sprinkles, and multicolored non pareils. Thanks for this recipe!

  • Matt
    January 15, 2010

    i made these and replaced the egg with a heaped tablespoon of thickened cream… they turned out great (for anyone who didn’t want the egg but did want the cookies to turn out like these)

    very delicious
    thankyou for the recipe

  • Rellek
    March 1, 2010

    I am using this recipe tomorrow to bake cookies for my daughters birthday. I am anxious to taste them!

  • SEO
    March 5, 2010

    i have question i am fat so is this caouse to fat.

  • custom essay
    March 10, 2010

    What about taste? Because my children needs a good taste as chocolate.

  • Kredite
    March 17, 2010

    I realy like Butter Cookies with Chocolate.. Its soooooooo nice taste!

  • Dog Barking
    March 19, 2010

    You gotta have a little frosting with some sprinkles though for them to be a TRUE butter cookie in my opinion 😉

  • finanzinform.de
    March 19, 2010

    Ohhhh when i see you Foto of the Cookies, i just like to eat them.. Thanks for the recept!

  • fulfillment
    March 19, 2010

    This one is tasty than typical cookies. We are fans of your foods.

  • Mike
    March 20, 2010

    My wife and I always look for recipes online so that we can have fun making them ourselves. This one is one we can’t wait to try to make! Thanks for this one!

  • Pflege aus Polen
    March 24, 2010

    Thanks BakingBites.com.. I try the recept like 2 Days ago, and it was very nice taste…

  • ikea furniture
    April 5, 2010

    Great recipe, gonna try it soon! Thanks a lot.

  • sofortkreditohneschufa
    April 8, 2010

    Just tested the recipe last evening. just delicious.
    Wann say thank you bakingbites! Go on 😉 I love all the sweet stuff.

  • Jamaican Vacation
    April 11, 2010

    Excellent recipe. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • they were quick and easy to make and we had them Christmas Eve. I rolled the dough in chocolate jimmies, pearl sugar, red sugar sprinkles, and multicolored non pareils.

  • reusch goalkeeper gloves
    April 21, 2010

    i burn the whole recipe last night…sigh

  • Frances Degraff
    April 23, 2010

    I don’t quite agree, nonetheless it’s still a worthwhile topic and worth discussing.

  • Trailers for Sale
    May 22, 2010

    i THINK THAT,it will be more of a shortbread cookie.

  • We are fans of your foods.This one is tasty than typical cookies it will be more of a shortbread cookie.Thanks for this one!

  • Jahudi
    November 26, 2010

    Well…everybody loves those cookies! No matter what kind of cookies….kids love it!

  • Xain Devraj
    December 1, 2010

    Is it possible to make any spritz cookies without eggs? And in this recipe, is it rolled over sprinkles and then baked?

  • Cathy
    December 16, 2010

    I tried the recipe and they smell wonderful, I am really picky when it comes to cookies. Sorry I didn’t consider these to be The Best Butter Cookies. My search goes on…

  • nicky
    May 8, 2012

    I tried these cookies and made them, I added 21/2 cups of flour but it still looks a bit sticky and I wasn’t sure if I should add more flour HOPEFULLY IT WILL COME OUT RIGHT. I put them in the freezer now and will wait and see WISH ME LUCK THANKS

  • Nesha
    September 15, 2012

    They were ok. One kid liked them and one didn’t. Think I’ll keep searching. It’s been a long time since I had butter cookies. I kinda forgot how they tasted.

  • Andrew
    June 4, 2013

    I’m really lucky I found this blog! I will share this recipe to my wife since she really loves baking cookies for me and for the kids! Thank you very much!

  • Ruby
    December 8, 2013

    Hi Nicole ~ does this cookie fall apart when you take a bite?

  • Nicole
    December 8, 2013

    Ruby – The cookies should be tender, but they shouldn’t fall apart when you take a bite.

  • Emilass
    December 29, 2014

    One of the best cookies I’ve eaten in a long time! Made a single batch and ended up wishing I’d made a triple! My dad snitched about half of them, citing nostalgic-old-man privileges; he said they were just like the ones his grandma used to make.

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