A few years ago I went through a cookie and cake decorating phase. I took all of the Wilton classes at Michael’s and bought tons of decorating supplies – bags, tips, food coloring, etc. I had a vision of starting a side business selling decorated cookies and cakes to friends and family. One day I was working on a project and knocked a batch of cookie icing onto my grey tile floors. While I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing red icing out of the grout, I started having some serious doubts about my future as a cake and cookie decorator. Scraping royal icing off of my counter tops and cleaning up splatters of food coloring weren’t fun to me and worse, holding piping bags made my hands hurt. I said goodbye to my dreams of being the next Toba Garrett.
The best thing that came out of that phase was this recipe. While I was practicing my piping skills, I made this cookie recipe by the dozen. Everyone should have a really good basic butter cookie in their recipe arsenal. They’re a versital blank canvas for whatever you want to do with them. This is Toba Garrett’s recipe and it will always be my “go-to” butter cookie recipe. If you leave out the baking powder, you will get a denser flatter cookie which makes them easier to decorate. Try substituting your favorite extract or liqueur for the vanilla. I’m partial to adding lemon extract and some lemon zest to give them a completely different taste. This dough will last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. This yields about 3 dozen 2 inch cookies.
p.s. These are snowflakes not flowers.
Basic Butter Cookies
- 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (8oz) granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (12 oz) all purpose flour (plus a little extra for rolling surface)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together for about two minutes. Scrape the bowl down and mix for another minute.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture 1 cup at a time and mix thorougly after each cupful. Mix in last cup by hand.
- Divide dough into 2 disks and wrap with plastic wrap until you’re ready to use them.
- Roll out each disk on a lightly flour surface. Cutout cookies and place on ungreased nonstick cookie sheet or on parchment paper.
- Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges start to get brown slightly.
This dough will last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.