Basic Butter Cookies with a twist

Hey guys! To-day I’ve got a simple but satisfying recipe that you NEED to have in your current repertoire. Butter cookies!
Some of you might not know the difference between shortbread cookies, butter cookies and sugar cookies. Well, let me get this straight: Shortbread cookies are not butter cookies. Butter cookies are not sugar cookies. Sugar cookies are not shortbread cookies. And butter cookies are not shortbread cookies. If you read all that and are still confused, here’s a simple sentence for you: They are not the same.
What’s the difference? Shortbread cookies are rich and buttery and all things wonderful. They are made up of flour, sugar, butter and vanilla. They’re very crumbly, and are quite tender. Butter cookies, on the other hand, aren’t crumbly. They hold well because they have eggs in them. That’s the difference, or I think so. They are very buttery and so, SO good. Sugar cookies are really sweet, and are very tender. They don’t crumble, but they break easily because they’re soft. I personally don’t really like sugar cookies, because I am a ‘crispy and crunchy cookie’ girl. Sometimes I overbake cookies just to get them to harden up!

Now you understand the difference, let’s chat about these amazing butter cookies. I love butter. I love the rich flavor, but I don’t like buttercream. At all. Don’t hate me, please but I just hate it. Or maybe it’s just that I haven’t had real, good buttercream yet. That’s a long story I’ll save for another recipe. I like the richness it gives to everything, and the color when it’s creamed well. I love using butter in pies, cakes, but mostly cookies. With cookies, I feel that the spotlight focuses on the butter, not like when with cakes, you have a whole other flavor booty-nudging butter out of the spotlight. That’s what I love most about these cookies! They’re light, crisp (and I didn’t even have to overbake them! WHOO) and tender inside. Not chewy at all, you can hear every crunch the cookie makes when you chew it. The cinnamon sugar topping just took it on a first-class jet plane and flew it all the way to heaven. Like, seriously, this is the best cookie I have ever made. It browns beautifully and the crystals of sugar sparkle like crushed diamonds on the cookie, which is absolutely gorgeous, and doesn’t overpower the cookie at all. It’s playing a very loyal sidekick role to the butter. That’s my twist on the classic butter cookie. This recipe was given to me by my friend Sharon, and I combined it with another recipe I found online, from Joy of Baking. I love Stephenie’s videos, they’re always so detailed and fool-proof and ensure that nothing goes wrong when you’re making them, although they are long.

Before I upload the process photos below, there are a few things in the recipe I have to mention:
1. You do need to add the salt in the cinnamon sugar topping, if you are going to do that. (You could just skip the cinnamon and just put sugar and salt on it if you wanted to) Why? Because with the sweet topping that’s going on, you need something to cut it. The salt does just that, and you don’t taste like, ‘oh my God this is salty’, you taste, ‘wow, this hits it perfectly!’ You’ll see. Just trust me on this, kay?
2. You need to chill the log of dough before cutting it. Makes it a thousand times easier, I promise. There’s a photo below where I’m holding the log in my hand, and I took that photo because it was so firm I could hold it. It was really soft and a little sticky when it was first rolled in the log shape. I cut the thing up in no time! I froze the log I was about to cut about five minutes before my oven fully preheated, and it solidified the butter even more. I used a serrated knife so that there would be a scalloped ridge on the surface of the cookies, it was so cute. There’s a photo below where I tried to capture the scallops, hope you can see the pattern! By the way, using a long flat spatula to straighten the edges made it much easier to get it shaped well.
And I’m sorry if I have a lot of butter photos. And the third photo…I had no idea what I was doing, but I was cutting up my butter when all of a sudden some of the butter seemed to just balance on top of each other! I was like, whaaaat?!
Okay, enough of my blabbering. PLEASE make these cookies! You will NOT regret this, I guarantee it. Leave me a comment below if you want to say anything, questions or suggestions, or even topping ideas! Here are the process photos:
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update: 10/31 I froze this and baked them an hour ago, and they were perfect! Seemed a little softer than the fresh version, but crisped up. Still as amazing as the first time!

Basic Butter Cookies

*This recipe is easily halved or doubled.
Ingredients:
For the cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
A pinch of salt

For the cinnamon sugar topping (Optional)
Sugar (as much as you need)
1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon
Salt (depends on the amount of sugar, I would say 1/4 tsp for every three heaping spoonfuls of sugar)
Vanilla powder (if you don’t have it, just omit it. Don’t use vanilla extract, because extracts are liquid and would affect the topping)

Preheat your oven to 175C°.
First, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, around 3 minutes.

Second, whisk in the egg and the vanilla until well combined.

Third, fold in the flour and salt (I like to fold it in because it’s not easy to whisk flour in something thick without making a mess! Fold it in first 🙂 and turn the dough ball out onto a floured surface, divide into two equal-sized balls and shape into two logs or two flattened dough discs, wrapping with plastic wrap.
*You can use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes instead of shaping it into logs like I do!

Then refrigerate the dough for about an hour, or until it firms up.

For the topping! Mix all the ingredients for the sugar topping and sprinkle evenly on the sliced/cut dough.

Roll the dough into a large, flat piece and cut out your shapes. Or slice the log into thin/thick slices, put on parchment-paper-lined baking tray. Bake it for around 8 minutes, depending on your thickness and shape. If you find that they brown too quickly, but aren’t crisp yet, cover with aluminum foil and keep baking, checking every two minutes.

Enjoy! I hope you adore this simple recipe as much as I definitely do!
If you have anything to ask, please do so in the comments below, and I’ll get back to ya 🙂

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