Classic butter cookies are a must have in every baker’s recipe box.
They are wonderful cookies to make any time of year, but tend to be thought of most as Christmas cookies because they are perfect cookies for decorating.
See all of the variations and tips below too.
What is Creaming Butter?
“Creaming” butter simply means beating it until it is soft and fluffy. The more you beat the butter, the more delicate the cookies will be.
To “cream together” butter and sugar means the same thing. Mix them together then beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. The butter will lighten up in color a bit.
A major plus, and another reason these are often thought of as holiday cookies, is that one batch can also be turned into a variety of colorful, tasty treats.
I’ve given you a several ideas for variations here. Of course feel free to let your imagination run and try other things too. You can do so much with this one simple recipe.
Classic Butter Cookies, Plus Lots of Variations
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Stir together flour and salt. Cream butter, then beat in sugar and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, about 1/4 at a time.
- Choose one variations from below if you want, or bake them plain. They are delicious either way.
- Roll out the cookies and cut them into shapes, roll into specific shapes (see below) or just roll into individual balls and flatten them with your hand. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets according to individual directions, usually for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden.
- Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
- Chocolate Butter Cookies: Add a tablespoon of cocoa to the recipe, or half the recipe, for cocoa cookies. If you just put cocoa into half the recipe, you can make, pretty mixed cookies by creating a log that is half chocolate and half white, then slicing into cookies.
- Nutted Cookies: Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the dough.
- Deocrated Cookies: These are the perfect cookies to decorate with sprinkles or your favorite icing colors. Let the kids have fun decorating their own cookies.
- Almond Cookie Crescents: Add 1 cup ground almonds to the dough. Form into 1 inch balls. Shape into crescents. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar while still warm.
- Chocolate Tipped Logs: Shape dough into 1 inch balls; roll balls into 2 inch cylinders. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool. Dip each cookie into melted chocolate then finely chopped nuts.
- Raspberry Strips: Divide dough into 6 parts; shape each into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Place 3 at a time on cookie sheets. Press a groove down centre of each rope; push up sides to make a deeper trench. Bake 20 minutes; cool 10 minutes on sheets; remove. Fill the centres with jam. Slice to serve.
- Cherry Cookies: Add chopped glace or maraschino cherries to the dough. If using maraschino cherries and you want pink cookies, just add a touch of the cherry liquid to the cookies. If you want the cookies to stay white, dry the liquid from the cherries a bit before you add them to the dough or the color will "bleed" into the dough.