What are butter cookies?

Butter.

Butter Cookies are shortbread-style dessert cookies. Sometimes called sugar cookies for another important ingredient, butter cookies are a very basic, easy-to-make baked treat. Most butter cookie recipes are kept simple to fully characterize the taste of quality butter. Bakers often cut raw butter cookie dough into a variety of shapes with cookie cutters. It is common for butter cookies to be topped with light or colored varieties of granulated sugar to add extra shine and sweetness.

Granulated sugar, which is used to make shortbread cookies.

With so few ingredients in the cookie recipe, each one plays a big role in the overall result. Fresh unsalted butter gives the cookies a rich flavor. Quality dry products such as icing sugar and sifted flour affect the texture of cookies. Some recipes call for a few drops of real vanilla extract for added depth of flavor.

A multitude of varieties of cookie cutters are available to shape butter cookie dough into almost any shape. The dough is rolled into an evenly thin sheet on a clean, flat surface with a rolling pin. Flour or icing sugar is usually sprinkled around the edges of the cookie cutter to prevent them from sticking to the wet dough. The dough between the patterned cookies is lifted so it can be rolled out to the next batch. Butter cookies of varying shapes and sizes require different lengths of time in the oven to bake.

Butter Cookies are a cookie-style dessert cookie.

The high butter content makes the cookies brown and come off the pan more easily. Raw butter cookie dough can usually be tossed directly onto the baking sheet without the need for vegetable shortening or cooking oil spray. The butter-saturated flour in the cookies reacts to the heat of the oven and quickly releases its moisture. The shortbread cookies have a crunchy crunch as soon as they are lightly browned and given time to cool. Replacing half of the butter with vegetable shortening results in a chewy cookie with less buttery flavor.

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The high butter content makes the cookies brown and come off the pan more easily.

Cookie decorators often employ baked butter cookie shapes as an edible blank canvas. The basic buttery flavor of the cookies pairs well with a wide variety of sweet decorations. Custom butter cookie creations are often decorated with colorful icings and candies to celebrate a specific holiday or event. Butter cookies that are decorated while still warm from the oven can become soggy as the frosting traps any remaining moisture.

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