It’s Never Too Late

A belated Merry Christmas to you all…  We’re back from spending the holiday in Arizona with my mom, aunt, and a plethora of cousins.

Cookie-Press Butter Cookies

Before Christmas – when I mentioned that I was trying a new (to me) butter cookie recipe – some folks asked whether, if it worked out, would I share the recipe.  It did and I will.

Sure, it’s after Christmas, but is there ever a wrong time of year for butter cookies?  These cookies are shaped using a cookie press.  Mine (a Wilton Preferred Press cookie press) includes disks for hearts, flowers, a pumpkin, and what I’m pretty sure is a Thanksgiving turkey.  If that isn’t a hint that it’s never too late to make butter cookies, then I don’t know what is.

One of the difficulties of cookie press cookies is that if the dough is too soft, the cookies will not hold their shape, and the dough will come out of the press in lumps and gobs.  For this reason, many cookie press recipes are heavy on flour and, consequently, taste like solidified library paste.  Therefore, the dough is often colored with food coloring, maybe so you’ll ignore the lack of flavor.

This recipe works best if you allow time for it to firm up for the fifteen to twenty minutes that puts it in the Goldilocks Zone of neither too warm (soft and sticky) or too cold (hard as a rock and certain to break your press).

The following recipe is adapted from an article published in The Washington Post, December 4, 2002.  Yes.  That’s the right date.  It took me over a decade to get around to trying these.  The author is Elinor Klivan, whose book Fearless Baking was a new release at that time.

Now, without further chatter…  Cookie-Press Butter Cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature.

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt (Note from Jane: If you use salted butter, just skip this salt)

2 large egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla extract

Colored sugar for decorating (optional)  (Note from Jane: Go light on this to accent the cookies, not cover the details.)

Beat together butter, sugar, and salt until blended and smooth.  (I use an electric mixer, but this should be doable by hand as well.)

Blend in egg yolks and vanilla.  Gradually add the flour until dough is evenly mixed.   Don’t worry!  The completed dough should be slightly sticky.  Chill dough as noted above.

Preheat oven to 350. (If you’re going to chill the dough, then shape the cookies, time your oven heating accordingly!  Why waste energy?)

Get out cookie sheets.  Note: DO NOT grease, or cookies will not adhere to the surface when extruded from the cookie press.  Select your disk of choice.  Pack dough into cookie press, following instructions for your press.   Follow cookie press directions to shape cookies.

Sprinkle colored sugar on before baking.  (Note from Jane: My experience is that with shapes that have a holes in them, like the wreath, you end up with as much sugar on the cookie sheet as on the cookie, so I didn’t add ornamental sugar to those.)

Let cool, then enjoy!


One Response to “It’s Never Too Late”

  1. Louis Robinson Says:

    For anyone wondering “why use unsalted butter, but then add salt?”, note that that quantity of salted butter will have, IIRC [and i may not], well in excess of a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in it – there is a very definite difference in flavour as a result.

    Took me a while to figure that one out when i first started baking shortbread, far too long ago.

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