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Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

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Rolling in dough.

sliced butter cookie dough rolled in sugar for christmas cookies

What if I told you that a magical baked good exists that functions equally as a crisp, buttery tart shell and a rich, just-sweet-enough shortbread cookie? I present these slice and bake butter cookies.

This dough, called pâte sucrée, or “sweet dough,” tastes buttery and tender, but stays crisp. It is the base of many custard tarts, but today, let’s focus on this dough’s other use as an amazing holiday cookie.

You’ll also like: Lemon Curd Tart and Pecan Shortbread Cookies

butter cookie shortbread cookie dough on marble

sliced butter cookie dough rolled in sugar for christmas cookies

Recipe Notes: Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

This butter cookie dough (pâte sucrée) is a shortbread made from butter, powdered sugar, flour, and vanilla. Though fairly basic, there are a few notes about technique and ingredients to ensure success.

Ingredients-wise, be sure to use high-quality ingredients. The recipe only calls for butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt, so there is a noticeable difference in flavor (and color) with good butter, eggs, and pure vanilla extract. I like a grass-fed butter, such as Kerry Gold.

slice and bake sugar cookies in stack on plate rolled in sugar

Notes on Technique:

  • Mix the dough until the butter fully combines into the other ingredients. You will use cool butter, but not cold, so that the butter incorporates better.
  • Roll the cookie dough into a log about 1.5″ in diameter. Use a little flour on the clean countertop and on the dough itself so it does not stick as you roll it.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill the dough fully for at least two hours, or overnight. Then, slice and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.
  • You can bake these plain, but why not dress the cookies up a little? Lightly egg wash the outside, then roll them in sanding sugar or sprinkles before slicing and baking.

slice and bake sugar cookies in stack on plate rolled in christmas cookies sugar

Did you make these slice and bake butter cookies? Share how it went!

slice and bake sugar cookies in stack on plate rolled in christmas cookies sugar

Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

A holiday cookie dough rolling in sweet, buttery flavor.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Dough Chilling Time2 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keywords:: butter cookie, christmas, christmas cookies, cookies, dessert, holiday cookies, holidays, pate sucree
Servings: 2 dozen cookies or so
Print

Ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose or cake flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (10x)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) cool unsalted butter, cubed
  • zest of one lemon, optional

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add the cubed butter and process until everything is even crumbles. The texture will be like lightly-moistened sand.
  • Add the egg yolk, water, vanilla extract, and lemon zest (if using). Mix in the food processor until the dough comes together in a large ball. It is ok if there is a little loose dough, but it should be a cohesive ball. If the dough seems too crumbly, add an additional teaspoon of water and mix.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly-floured surface. Knead it a few times into a smooth ball. Do not overwork the dough.
  • Shape the dough into a log about 1.5" in diameter and 10" to 11" in length. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill fully, at least two hours or up to two days.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment.
    Remove the plastic wrap from the chilled dough. If you'd like, lightly brush the outside of the log with egg and roll the log in sugar or colored sprinkles of your choice.
    PRO TIP: If you want to use a variety of sprinkles (or make the log less unwieldy), just subdivide it into smaller logs and egg wash and roll each of those, respectively.
  • Slice the dough into 1/4" rounds. Place each slice on the cookie sheets, leaving about an inch of space between each.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until very light golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

8 comments

  • Mine spread quite a bit too but I had them spaced enough that only a couple ran into each other.. Very tasty though. I wonder if a higher temp (375?) would cook them a bit faster and thus hold them better…not sure how that works though?

  • Mine were flat – tasted good but Im wondering if baking powder or soda may have helped.

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Jen. Since this is a shortbread recipe, the dough has no leavening (baking soda, baking powder) and will hold the exact shape of the cut. Next time, try slicing the cookies a little thicker.

  • 5 stars
    Hi!,
    I made the cookies— they taste great but they spread a bit and so they don’t look as neat as yours . Kept everything chilled, used Kerry gold .. maybe I cut them a hair too thin .

    Also I made your buttermilk birthday cake (sans sprinkles ). PERFECTION!!!!

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Julie!

      Hmm…sorry they spread on you, especially since they were chilled! A mystery. I’m making a batch next week and will try to troubleshoot and double check everything. Spreading could have been caused by excess liquifier (ie, sugar, butter, fat). I’m wondering if the Kerry Gold has a European (higher) fat content that could have accounted for the spread? Seems a little unlikely, but possible. Anyway, I’ll report back! Meantime, so glad you like the birthday cake! One of my favorites.

  • Theresa

    5 stars
    Great recipe. Will make again with my kids over winter break.

  • Trudy MacIver

    5 stars
    These were so much fun and easier than regular sugar cookie cutouts! Turned out perfectly.

  • 5 stars
    Buttery and delicious.

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