Butter Cookies

Valentine's DayBakingCookie

These Butter Cookies have such a light texture that they almost melt in your mouth!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Years ago we attempted a New York Times recipe for a lemon confit shortbread tart. Like fellow food-blogger Deb, we had a miserable experience with the recipe. It was just too tart to eat.

However, I had some extra dough from making the pie crust and decided to roll it out, cut some cookies, and see how they were. I rolled the cookies out pretty thin, much thinner than what is typical of shortbread or butter cookies, and pulled them out of the oven just as their edges started to brown.

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Valentine cookies

They were so light, they practically melted on the tongue!

My parents insisted that I make another batch the next day. I made several dozen. All of the cookies were devoured within 36 hours and I was not permitted to give any of them away to friends.

If you are looking for something wonderful to make for a loved one in your life, these cookies may just be the thing.

lemony butter cookies

Butter Cookies Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 3-5 dozen cookies, depending on how thick, and the size of your cookie cutters


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice


1 Make the butter cookie dough: Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Add the butter and work it in with your fingers until it forms flaky crumbs and lumps.

Mix in the egg, almond extract, and lemon juice. Continue to mix until it clumps; at first it may seem very dry.

Shape into two balls, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic, refrigerate at least an hour, preferably overnight.

butter cookie dough roll out butter cookie dough

2 Roll out the dough: Let the dough sit at temperature for at least 10-15 minutes before attempting to work with it. The dough may be crumbly; if it falls apart, press it back together. Allow the dough to relax enough to become somewhat pliable before rolling out.

Roll out a disk, one at a time, between two sheets of parchment paper, to a 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness, depending on how thick or thin you would like your cookies to be.

3 Cut out cookie shapes with cookie cutter: Dip the edges of one side of your cookie cutter into flour and cut out your cookie shapes. If the rolled-out dough becomes too soft to work with, place it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

Place on parchment paper or Silpat on a cookie sheet, with at least 1/2-inch distance between the cookie shapes.

cut out butter cookie dough into cookie shapes arrange butter cookie cutouts on baking pan

4 Bake: Bake at 350°F for 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies, until the edges are just slightly golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Baked Butter Cookies

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Emiko

    Thanks for this lovely recipe! (And all of your other ones as well.) These are a perfect paring for my lemon ice cream. As a note for those who hate to roll dough, as I do, this recipe worked perfectly well for slice and bake. Instead of two discs, I formed a single long log about 2.5 in. wide and wrapped in wax paper. After a night in the fridge, I sliced about 0.25 inch thick and baked. Not as pretty as shapes, but much less messy.


  2. Jean

    Hi, thanks for this recipe! I just have one question: where did you buy you heart cookie cutters and how big are they?

    Oh my gosh, I made these such a long time ago that I don’t remember either where I got the cookie cutters or their size. I have lots of sizes in my collection. I’m sure you can find the cookie cutters online. Look for metal ones, they’ll work better than plastic. ~Elise

  3. jaclyn505

    this was simple to make, the dough was pliable…when I baked them they were soft…but I didn’t like the taste a lil too tart!! Wondering if I can subsitute the lemon juice for anything?? Or leave it out with the same results?

    You can leave out the lemon juice. Or just reduce it to a teaspoon. ~Elise

  4. AV

    This dough was perfect – I believe the ratio of the flour (3 cups) to the butter (2 sticks) is just right. Other recipes seem to have less butter or less sugar etc. Cookies turned out great – made me feel like a real chef…:)


  5. Mary

    The dough turned out perfect for me! I didn’t have any many problems with crumbly dough. For me, I think what helped was pressing the dough flatter once it was in a ball in the plastic wrap. The cookies themselves look absolutely lovely, and taste delicious.


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