As a ratio baker, I use weights and ratios to bake, so you’ll find weights listed for most of the ingredients instead of cups.
The cookie ratio scares me. I’ve been avoiding it for over a year. There are simply too many different kinds of cookies, all of which require this tweak or that tweak, and I just didn’t feel up to the challenge.
Recently, though, I kept thinking butter cookies sounded really good. There are 3 basic types of cookies: shortbread (which is what you’ll get if you follow the cookie ratio of 3 parts flour: 2 parts fat: 1 part sugar), butter cookies, and sugar cookies. Turns out butter and sugar cookies are often interchangeable. Butter cookies, though, have more butter.
After reading far too many cookie recipes, I came across one that looked promising. The butter and flour were roughly equal, though I thought it had a little too much flour. But I was tired of reading about butter cookies, so, fortunately, I remembered those tins of Danish Butter Cookies. Now that’s what I’ve been looking for!
A brief search revealed Danish Butter Cookies have 3 main ingredients: butter, flour, and sugar. I had been adding an egg, and the cookies were just too soft and chewy. I was looking for a bit more of a crunch. You know, something a little crisper like those Danish Butter Cookies. So, I took out the egg, tweaked my ratio a bit, and ended up with the perfect butter cookie.
Of course, all my attempts used up an entire box of butter (possibly a bit more than a whole box – I lost track at some point) and now the thought of butter makes me want to toss my cookies (not the literal cookies). Fortunately, my kids loved the last batch, so they finished them off for me. Still, 4 or 5 batches of cookies is enough to make me never want a cookie again. Well, at least not for a couple of weeks. When I’ve replenished my butter supply.
Gosh, butter cookies sure are buttery!
How to Make Butter Cookies
First of all, setting the oven at a high temperature will help the cookies keep their shape. Second, chilling the dough (I prefer after I’ve shaped them so I don’t have to deal with warming up the dough while I’m working with it) is an important step. Third, eggs are not necessary. Finally, no planning necessary; working with cold butter straight from the fridge works just fine!
Okay, so you’ve decided to make butter cookies. It’s actually super easy. The ratio for these butter cookies is 0.5 parts sugar: 1 part butter: 1.5 parts flour. I know, I know. They’re not all round numbers. But all you have to do is take the weight of the butter and divide it in half for the weight of the sugar. Then multiply the weight of the sugar by 3 to get the weight of the flour.
Weigh the flour and the sugar separately. Add the sugar to your mixing bowl and cut the butter into pieces. I just cut slices all the way down the stick, about a quarter inch thick. While mixing the sugar, add one slice of butter at a time until the butter and sugar are fully creamed together. Add a splash of vanilla extract, or any other flavoring you desire. Add the flour. Now, when the flour is first added, it’ll first start to look crumbly. It’s not done mixing yet! Keep mixing until the dough comes together into, more or a less, a big lump. I usually wait until there are 2-3 chunks of dough.
Now, if you plan on piping the dough onto your cookie sheet (which I usually cover in parchment paper, but does not need to be greased), you’ll need a large tip. This dough is thick and hard to squeeze. I just make balls of about the same size and flatten them. You can grease the bottom of a glass, dip it into sugar, and then press down on the balls to add a nice layer of sweetness. Or just flatten them with your fingers.
Chill the cookies for about 30-60 minutes. You could also chill the dough before shaping it, but these cookies really should go cold into the oven to help them keep their shape, so I prefer to chill the shaped cookies because I don’t want my hands warming up the dough. It’s kind of like pie crust in that way.
Just before the cookies are done chilling, turn on your oven to 400 degrees. When the oven is ready, pop in the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are light brown (though the thickness of your cookies will also determine baking time. The thinner they are, the less time they’ll take). Cool for a couple of minutes and then move the cookies to a cooling rack.
A delicious and easy 4 ingredient butter cookie that requires no eggs!
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Weigh the flour and sugar. Cut butter into pieces or slices.
2. Add the sugar to your mixing bowl.
3. Add butter to sugar one piece at a time and mix until the butter and sugar are fully creamed together.
4. Add a splash of vanilla extract, or another flavoring of your choice.
5. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together into a rough ball, or 2-3 large chunks.
6. Onto an ungreased or parchment paper lined baking sheet, shape your cookies about an inch or two apart. I rolled mine into balls about an inch or so wide (makes 12-13 cookies) and used a greased and sugared cup to flatten them to about a quarter inch thickness.
7. Chill for about 30-60 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
9. When the oven is ready, take the cookie sheet from the fridge and immediately put it into the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms are light brown.
10. Cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.