- 2 cups butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR CUTOUTS:
- Sprinkles, jimmies or colored sugar, optional
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR PEPPERMINT BALLS:
- 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Red colored sugar, optional
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR SPICY FRUIT BALLS:
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Confectioners' sugar, optional
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE SLICES:
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Divide dough into four 1-1/2 cup portions; mix and shape for each variety as follows. Yield: 4 portions (1-1/2 cups each).
- To prepare Cutouts: Using one portion dough, divide into two balls; roll each ball directly on an ungreased baking sheet to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured cookie cutter, leaving at least 1 in. between cookies. Remove excess dough and reroll scraps if desired. Decorate with sprinkles, jimmies or colored sugar if desired. Bake at 375° for 6-7 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.
- To prepare Peppermint Balls: In a large bowl, combine one portion dough, peppermint candies and peppermint extract. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with red colored sugar if desired. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.
- To prepare Spicy Fruit Balls: In a large bowl, combine one portion dough, currants, fruit and cinnamon. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 minute then roll in confectioners' sugar if desired. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.
- To prepare Chocolate Slices: In a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. In a small bowl, mix melted chocolate into one portion cookie dough. Shape into a 1-1/2-in.-thick log; roll in nuts. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Unwrap and cut into 1/8-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Best Butter Cookies in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2009, p65
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