I love cookies. I think it has something to do with the fact that when I started baking, I baked cookies. I used the little pouches at first so they were semi-homemade but somewhere along the line I transitioned to all homemade.
My mom baked a few things growing up, but I think it was really my grandma on my dad’s side (the Italian side) who inspired my love of baking. We used to watch as she made delicious bunnies for Easter, biscotti and tons of cookies for the holidays, and cakes for birthdays. Everything was always delicious and there was always more than enough around to stuff our faces with. And now, with the holidays approaching and my family more spread out and split up than when growing up, I miss the huge tins of cookies that my grandma would take out whenever we came over for dinner, whether a regular weekend night or Christmas day.
She makes a delicious chocolate chip cookie that is thin and crispy and unlike any other chocolate chip cookie I’ve had, but one of my favorites was always the simple butter cookie. She kept a good deal plain but there were sometimes ones dipped in chocolate or coated with sprinkles too.
So, for this years Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I wanted to share a cookie that always brought a smile around the holidays. Last year I shared the pepparkakor recipe for Swedish gingerbread cookies so this year it seemed natural to pick something from the other side of the family. I called up my grandma, got the recipe over the phone, called her a few more times to make sure I was making them correctly, and then I had the cookie I wanted to share this year.
I’ll talk about the cookies in a moment, but first I want to recognize this years Cookie Swap. We raised $13,778.40 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer! This came from the small donation we had to give to enter the swap, donations from the wonderful sponsors (OXO, Gold Medal, Grandma’s Molasses and Dixie Crystals), and extra donations. There are 619 participants coming together from 8 different countries, which is just so many food bloggers and SO many cookies! I got to send a dozen cookies to 3 wonderful food bloggers: Melissa from Fried Ice and Donut Holes, Lindsay from Life, Love and Sugar, and then Julie from The Little Kitchen, who is one of the hosts of the cookie swap (along with Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil) and a food blogger I’ve been following for years so to say that I was a little nervous to be sending her MY cookies is a bit of an understatement.
Not only did I get to send off a dozen butter cookies to each of those wonderful food bloggers, I got to receive a dozen cookies from 3 other bloggers: Sarah from Food, Fun & Life in Waukesha, Mollie from Mollies Sprinkles of Life, and Sandra from Meadows Cooks. Getting their packages in the mail was so much fun and all the cookies were delicious! I had to share them with friends because otherwise I would have had 3 dozen cookies all to myself and I know me. I would have eaten every single one of them.
And a special shout out to my amazing cousin Maria who sent me the adorable cupcake/treat boxes that I ended up using to ship the cookies in. They were perfect and adorable and super festive and I love them (I still have one left and I might never use it just so it can sit all cute on my desk).
Now on to the cookies. These are deliciously simple. The butter flavor shines through but isn’t overpowering (which is a feat, considering the pound of butter that goes into these). They’re not too sweet and they have a delicate crunch when you bite into the cookie. The ingredients couldn’t be easier and the cookies couldn’t be better! Well, except for maybe dipping half the cookie in chocolate. I was just afraid of chocolate melting in transit so I avoided that. I brought a few of the extras I had in to work and everyone loved them. For days after, they kept asking me when I was going to be bringing more butter cookies in.
These are a staple in any Christmas cookie baking and I definitely plan on making them again this season! You should too.
makes roughly 3-4 dozen cookies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the pinch of salt and slowly add in the flour, mixing until the cookie dough comes together.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a cookie press or a large pastry bag fitted with a closed star tip, pipe cookie dough into ring shapes. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the edges have just started to turn a golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
(If you don’t have a press or pastry tips, you can roll the dough into a log and cut slices to bake. Bake time might be a few minutes longer – just look for the golden edges)
[source: my grandma]