Original publication Challenge Dairy
With all the panic buying going on, the last time I went to the store, there were no eggs available, so I had to make sure that my last three eggs didn’t go to waste. My friends would have just told me to save them as a protein and either scramble, fry or hard boil them; however, as I’ve told you before, I cannot stand the taste or smell of eggs!
My department at work were sent home to work remotely just before St. Patrick’s Day, so I was never able to bake the treats I was going to bring in to work. I had looked through my recipes to find something Irish to bake. Irish Soda Bread had immediately come to mind, but I had just bought bread at the store the week before, so I didn’t need any more. Of course, there’s Corned Beef and Cabbage, but this isn’t an episode of Chopped! Since I had discovered my Irish heritage, I had downloaded a few Irish recipes, including this simple recipe for Irish Butter Cookies.
What are Butter Cookies? They are a cross between a sugar cookie and a shortbread. They have more sugar than a shortbread, so they are less crumbly and they are baked at a higher temperature. The dough is softer and more pliable than a sugar cookie dough. This means you can roll them out like a sugar cookie, pipe out the dough or simply make a drop cookie and flatten it out with the bottom of a glass. Remember if you roll out the dough, you should dip your cookie cutter in some flour so the dough doesn’t stick to it. I would have liked to use a shamrock cookie cutter, but unfortunately I don’t own one, so I used a flower to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Some butter or sugar cookies call for an icing or buttercream frosting, as this original recipe did; however, I am not a fan of this. I believe it makes the cookie way too sweet, so I opted for just a light dusting of golden caster sugar before the cookie was baked. You can also use regular granulated sugar instead. If you chose to sprinkle your cookie with sugar, I would suggest you do it before you bake the cookie. If you are rolling out your cookie, you will need to apply a light egg white wash to make the sugar adhere to the cookie. However, if you decide to do a drop cookie, you can simply roll the dough in the sugar before you press the dough down with the bottom of a glass.
And what makes this an Irish Butter Cookie? Kerrygold Irish Butter. The original recipe called for Challenge European Style Butter, but I had originally bought the butter thinking I might be making the Irish Soda Bread for the office. Kerrygold Irish Butter does qualify as a European Style Butter. It has higher butter fat content than American Style Butter and is churned longer and might have a slight sour taste due to fermentation or added cultures.
Although without the icing, some would argue that the Butter or Sugar cookie is way to bland. After a little more rummaging through my refrigerator, I zested an orange and then replaced the vanilla extract, which is called for in other recipes, with Cointreau Orange Liqueur. The combination provides a nice hint of orange in every bite.
Irish Butter Cookies
Credit: Adapted from Challenge Dairy recipe
- 1 cup Kerrygold Irish Butter (or any other European style butter)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- zest of one orange
- 1 tbl Cointreau
- caster or granulated sugar for decoration
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring your butter and eggs to room temperature.
- Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Add egg, orange zest and Cointreau and beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and mix until well blended.
- Divide your dough into quarters. You can refrigerate the portions of dough until you are ready to roll them out. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to approximately 1/8 in thickness. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush lightly with a beaten egg white and dust with caster or granulated sugar.
- Bake for approximately 8 minutes until lightly brown.
- For drop cookie option, use a melon baller to scoop the dough and roll the cookies in the caster or granulated sugar. Place balls onto parchment paper and place a piece of plastic wrap over the tray. Press down each cookie with the bottom of a glass until about 1/8 inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and bake as directed above.
- Add vanilla or any other citrus zest to the batter and combine with another type of alcohol; such as lemon zest and limoncello, or lime zest and tequila.