Well, I didn’t think it could happen. Not in a million. In fact, neither did my husband. But it did. After almost 17 years as Adam’s Reigning Cookie Champion, his all-time favorite, Walnut Cream Cheese Cookies (from our first cookbook!), has been dethroned. And these are what did it. This is another one of my Fundamental Recipes, one that can pull double-duty and morph into so many incredible desserts. It’s one to slide in your back pocket and pull out for all sorts of fabulous treats. But, with their buttery, chewy yet crispy, vanilla-infused goodness, they’re absolutely perfect completely unadorned, still warm from the oven, with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk.

The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Butter Cookies

Author: Cheryl Beverage Varnes
Recipe type: Desserts, Sweets, Cookies
Serves: Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg yolk


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add in the extracts and egg yolk and mix until fully incorporated.
  2. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture until the a moist dough forms.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; pat into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. When ready to bake, bring the dough to cool room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with a quarter of the dough at a time (return the rest to the fridge), roll the dough to an ⅛-inch thickness on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Cut out as many cookies as you can with a cookie cutter. Gather and re-roll scraps; cut out more cookies. Place the cookies on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1-inch apart.
  5. Bake until the cookies are golden, about 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for several minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:

Planning: While one batch of cookies is in the oven, I roll out another portion to be ready to go in as soon as the others come out. It’s a really good investment to have at least two baking sheets since you never want to put dough on a hot pan. The cookie dough will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. In the freezer, up to one month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and allow to soften at room temperature (you want to be able to handle the dough without it being too soft).

Product Purity: Lots of people ask me why I use unsalted butter and then add salt to a recipe. It’s simple. Salt is a preservative and unsalted butter has a fresher, better taste. Plus, the amount of salt that is added varies greatly from brand-to-brand. And, I like the fact that I can control how much salt goes into my food. When it comes to your vanilla and almond extracts – Repeat after me: I promise I will always only use pure extracts and not those imitation jobs.

Presentation: Part of the fun of cookie making is all the different shapes and textures you can give them. I used a 2-inch biscuit cutter, a ravioli cutter and a large, square chef presentation ring in this photo. Dip some in melted chocolate, dust others with some confectioner’s sugar, leave some plain, or glaze and decorate them. The dough is also a fabulous base for tarts, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *