Italian Butter Cookies

italianbuttercookiesThe butter cookie is a simple yet amazingly delicious creation. You know them well – there are Danish varieties, Italian varieties, British varieties, and more, all made with simple ingredients and either formed or piped into fun shapes. I desperately wanted those beautiful cookies with defined ridges in them…but alas, my dough was too soft and the cookies spread significantly when they baked.

The challenge with a piped butter cookie is that the dough needs to be soft enough to fit through your piping bag nozzle, but sturdy enough to keep its shape when baked without spreading into things that look like, well, goodness knows what. My dough certainly wasn’t sturdy enough, but these cookies are beyond delicious. I found the recipe below at Cucina By Elena and Mike has proclaimed it one of the best things I’ve ever made.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers
  • Multicolored sprinkles

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt; set aside. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until very light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Slowly add flour mixture until the dough comes together.

Fit a piping bag with a large tip; I used both the Wilton M1 and 4B for different textures. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper; I clip mine to the baking sheets with small binder clips to hold it in place. Pipe desired shapes; I did wreaths, swirls, S-shapes, and finger-type shapes. Freeze piped cookies for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, until edges are just turning golden. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, melt chocolate wafers and dip cookies as desired; I also created sandwiches with my finger-style cookies, kind of like a Milano cookie. Store in an airtight container and room temperature for 2-3 days. Makes about three dozen, depending on the size of your cookies.

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