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Basic Butter Cookies

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 1
Categories: Cookies / Desserts

    Butter or margarine for
    Greasing cookie sheets
2 1/2  c  All-purpose flour
1/2  ts  Baking powder
1/8  ts  Salt
16  tb  Unsalted butter, room
2/3  c  Superfine sugar
1  lg  Egg
1 1/2  ts  Vanilla or almond extract
    Glaze or flavored sugar
    (optional, see note below).

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of wax paper and set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter until light. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until the dough is smooth. The dough can be shaped in a variety of ways: dropped from a teaspoon, molded into balls or run through the thin setting of a cookie press. It may also be packed into a pastry bag fitted with a large or small star tip to make "spritz cookies" in the shapes of rosettes or wreaths or in S-shapes. Leave 1 inch between cookies. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool. (Cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days or in the freezer for two months.) Note: Cookies can be glazed after baking or sprinkled with vanilla sugar (see recipes below). For orange or lemon-flavored cookies, substitute 4 teaspoons of grated orange skin or 2 teaspoons grated lemon skin and 1 or 2 teaspoons of fresh orange or lemon juice for the extract. Basic Sugar Glaze 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 2 teaspoons water, approximately (see note.) Place the sugar in a bowl and whisk in the water until the glaze is smooth. Add water, drop by drop, to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle freely with a spoon over cookies. May also be applied with a feather or a pastry brush. Note: For a different taste, substitute fresh lemon juice, orange liquer or Cognac for the water. Chocolate Glaze 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate 1 ounce semisweet chocolate 1/4 teaspoon vegetable shortening Melt the chocolates and shortening in the top of a double boiler over slowly simmering water, stirring often. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze sparingly over cookies. Vanilla Sugar 3 cups sugar 1 vanilla bean, cut into 1-inch segments. Place the sugar and the bean in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the vanilla bean is ground. Transfer to an airtight container and let stand for one week. Sift before sprinkling freely on cookies. May be stored indefinitely.

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