Nana’s Butter Cookies
Nana’s Butter Cookies was, originally, posted in December 2011, long before I started shooting videos or had a clue about shooting pictures. The recipe is too special not to update with a video and new pictures. My step-by-step pictures are still here but it was fun for me to see the difference in my photography styles from 2011 to now. My beautiful nieces, Julia, Leah and Olivia, refer to Nana’s Butter Cookies as Tia Betsy Cookies, a name with which Nana would be, equally, thrilled.
Nana’s Butter Cookies is a recipe from one of my very favorite ladies.
My grandmother, Freida Miller, made the best butter cookies I have ever had. She would freeze them in a giant blue Danish Cookie tin, with wax paper in between the layers and heavy duty masking tape around the edge.
Fortunately when I was very young, I learned how to carefully peel the masking tape away, take a cookie or two (like I had that much discipline back then…NOT) from the various layers and replace the tape. And I did this while propping up the very heavy freezer door that was one of those top lid types that they have probably banned by now because it was too easy to fall in. Even way back then, I knew it was worth the risk.
I am not sure to this day if Nana ever knew that I did this, but if she did, I am very thankful that she never ratted me out to my parents. I am hoping Nana will not feel like I am doing the same to her by sharing the following story, as she did have a sense of humor, too.
You see, Nana shared her recipe with her family so that my mother, sister and I could make the butter cookies in our home. One day, my sister was at Nana’s house and Nana’s beloved housekeeper Irma was busy making a batch of the cookies. She did something very odd though, as Irma added an ingredient not listed on our recipe card.
My sister’s quick eyes caught this ‘error’ and she asked Irma what she was doing. Irma told her that she was adding the almond extract. My sister said that this was not in our recipe and Irma very wryly told her that it was in Nana’s. No wonder why our cookies never tasted like Nana’s.
So that you do not think poorly of Nana, know that this is the same woman who always had my favorite treats waiting for me (M&M’s in mini-Dixie cups sitting in the brisker plus Pepperidge Farm cookies and occasionally her rice pudding) and allowed me to go to her house every weekend to watch those God awful movies on television with Poppop…picture “The Claw” and go down from there.
Thus, I want to believe that it was an oversight on Nana’s part not to include the almond extract in our cookie recipe. Not a problem in the long run, as I have shared this recipe (the complete one) with everyone I know. I am confident that Nana would be pleased to realize how many people also think they are the best around.
|Nana's Butter Cookies|| || |
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) Land O’ Lakes lightly salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Red Raspberry Preserves
- Blueberry Preserves
- Peach Preserves
- For the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or butter them and set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down a couple of times. Add the egg yolks, vanilla and almond extracts and blend well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until smooth.
- Break off pieces of the dough the size of a large marble and roll into balls. Place the balls on buttered baking sheets and slightly flatten down to form a small puffy disk. Press each cookie with a thimble (I use the back end of a large knitting needle) and fill the hole with preserves using a measuring teaspoon. Do not push the hole all the way through to the bottom of the dough. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the bottoms are a pale brown.
- Let sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
- Wrap the cookies in an airtight container with wax paper in between the layers. These cookies freeze beautifully.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- Land O’ Lakes lightly salted butter was the butter that Nana used and since I think the recipe is perfect as is, it is my butter of choice, too.
- Use different kinds of preserves or jams for a colorful plate of cookies. I use Red Raspberry Preserves, Seedless Blackberry Jam, Apricot or Peach Preserves and Blueberry Jam.
- The marble size balls are the equivalent of 1½ teaspoons of dough. The balls may be made smaller or larger, just remember to adjust the baking time accordingly.