Classic butter cookies are my husband’s absolute favorite, so I had to try this vanilla bean version. He loved them! They are dangerously easy to make too.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used the ground cinnamon option, varied the shapes, and topped the cookies with festive colored sugars prior to baking.
Because the cookies are quite fragile, the original recipe suggests making them into sandwich cookies, filled with chocolate, Nutella, or thick jam, to increase their stability for shipping. We ate them as is!
- 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), preferably cultured, softened
- 1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup/55 grams light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom, OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 2 1/4 cups/290 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- decorative sugar, for sprinkling, optional
- Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the egg, vanilla and the zest, spices or almond extract (if using), and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour and salt until just incorporated.
- Load dough into a cookie press. Following the directions that came with your cookie press (models can vary), push the dough onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch between cookies.
- Sprinkle cookies with decorative sugar.
- Bake until firm to touch and golden brown at edges, about 8 to 9 minutes, or longer (up to 17 minutes) depending upon the size of your cookie press.
- Transfer cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Our festive 2020 “Gingerbread Mansion” (photo above). 🙂