Basic Butter Cookies

 This recipe for basic butter cookies is so versatile. It can be scooped, rolled, sliced, pressed, or cut out with cookie cutters!

Butter cookies are one of those classic recipes that show up every holiday season along with peanut butter blossoms and cardamom cookies. I remember getting them in a blue tin and each cookie was shaped slightly different.


1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup (177 g) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 ¼ cups (292 g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


Beat the butter, sugar, together until creamy.

Mix in the salt and vanilla followed by the egg yolk. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment.

Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll 1 piece of dough to ⅛-inch thickness. With floured 2 to 3-inch cookie cutters, cut the dough into as many cookies as possible. Wrap and refrigerate the leftover trimmings.

Place the cookies 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with turbinado sugar or colored sugar. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden around the edges.

Cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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