Original publication Challenge Dairy

Irish Butter cookies with sugar

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.

Butter Cookie Dough with Orange Zest and Cointreau

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

  • Servings: approx. 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring your butter and eggs to room temperature.
  2. Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Add egg, orange zest and Cointreau and beat until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and mix until well blended.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for approximately 8 minutes until lightly brown.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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