Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Basic Butter Cookies

Hmmmmn.....I have had a change of mind. A few months ago I wrote about how I'd been searching for a better cookie recipe. The one I'd been using was producing cookies with a very bubbled surface. Not great for decorating. So I was looking for a solution. The recipe I found eliminated that problem - but I think I understand why, now.
The worst air bubbles seem to be on the cookies that have been cut out of re-rolled dough. So, when you gather up the scraps from your first cut-outs, you incorporate air into the dough. The new cookie recipe had a lot of eggs in it - so, it was quite a dense mixture. The problem that I've found with that, is that it isn't bearing up well after re-kneading and re-rolling. It's becoming too...doughy!

So, funny thing: I fiddled with another recipe, and landed up pretty much with what I'd been using originally!!

Now, though, I'm re-kneading with an aim to eliminated those pesky air pockets, and I'm using the right roller ( a heavy stainless steel one, instead of my light fondant roller. What was I thinking??) and smoothing out the surface of the cookie - just as it comes out the oven -with a cake smoother. Thanks to  The Bearfoot Baker for that nugget!

Flat, straight edged, crisp and tasty cookies. I'm happy.

Basic Butter Cookies
recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

250g butter, at room temp.
300g caster sugar
2 XL eggs
620g cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract - I use Vanilla Girl vanilla, so just a few drops.
1-2 TBS milk,  if needed

Cream together the butter and sugar
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed. Add the vanilla.
Sift in the flour and salt. Mix until just clumping, (if the dough seems too crumbly add a dash of milk) then form into a ball by hand. Place in cling-wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Roll-out and cut out cookies on a surface dusted with cornflour. (See here for some tips).

Bake at 180'C for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just starting to turn golden.

Decorate when completely cool.

Let me know how this (or the previous) recipe works for you.



  1. Hi Marina. I notice you use eggs in your biscuit Recipe. The butter biscuits recipe I use has no eggs, made with icing sugar and corn flour. What do the eggs and caster do in biscuits? I thought eggs gave them volume and caster sugar made them slightly snappy. Like added slight crunch to it. Is this the case or should I go back to school for Home

    1. Hi, Larissa
      I'm sure that the recipe you use is delicious!
      The recipe I use is designed to be tasty, but also create the perfect canvas for decorating. So they're strong, and bake firm and flat.
      The eggs don't get whipped as much as they would in a cake, so they don't contribute much to rising, but more to binding and strengthening.
      The gluten in the cake flour will also make the biscuits stronger than those made with corn flour.
      I use corn flour in shortbread to get that lovely crumbly texture.
      And as for the sugar, well - it contributes to the taste, the texture and the colour.
      Using icing sugar is supposed to stop the cookie from spreading; but the only time I've tried a cookie recipe with icing sugar, it was a disaster! So, I'm happy with caster sugar.

      I hope all that helps!


  2. Hi Marina,

    How many cookies does this recipe yield?

    Thanks, Megan

    1. Hi, Megan!
      It depends on how thick / thin you roll out the dough and the size of the cookies you're baking.
      But if you think of the ones we use in the classes, it's about 40 of those cookies per batch of dough.


    2. Thanks so much for your quick reply.

  3. hi there
    is is salted or unsalted butter ?
    If it is salted butter ... can i leave out the salt?
    Thank you

    1. Hi, Nirasha
      I always use salted butter, because unsalted is so much more expensive here.
      And you can leave out the salt if you want to, but I do think just a pinch at least enhances the flavour.

  4. hi there

    do we use salted or unsalted butter
    if i use salted butter, can i leave out the salt

  5. We've just made these as a holiday activity and I'm so happy with how they turned out. Super easy with little fingers that want to help...and we just threw in some chocolate chips too! Thanks so much M xoxo