Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

Continuing with the Christmas cookies these butter cookies are melt in your mouth good and are perfect on a cold night with a cup of tea. They are simple, freezable, and have endless possibilities! You can use dried apricots and pumpkin seeds or cranberries and orange peel like I did or any other combination of dried fruit, seeds or nuts you can come up with. There are hundreds maybe thousands of butter cookie recipes out there but what I like best about these is the use of powdered or confectioners’ sugar instead of granulated sugar. The powered sugar gives the cookies their very light melt in your mouth texture.
You can mix them together and once you have them in a log, slice them and recover with plastic wrap wrap and an extra layer of aluminum foil stick them in the freezer. Bring them out break off what you need and pop straight in the oven. These can be your homemade “break-n-bake” cookies for quick holiday visitors or any excuse for fresh from the oven cookies.

Slice-and-Bake Cookies Butter Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Fruit, nut and seed suggestions:
Grated zest of 2 oranges and 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I pulsed them in the food processor for a moment)
Grated zest of 2 lemons and 1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots(coated lightly with four) and 1/2 cup roughly chopped pumpkin seeds
Swap 1/4 cup of flour for unsweetened cocoa to make chocolate butter cookies!!

Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until the butter is smooth. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolks, followed by the salt and any combination of fruit, nuts and seeds (Or leave the fruit and nuts out for a simple plain butter cookies you can put jam on!) mix until combined. Reduce to low and add the flour in small batches mixing just until it disappears. Try to avoid over beating at this point. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather any remaining flour and dough into a ball, and divide it in half. Shape each piece of dough into a round and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Roll and form each piece of dough into a 1 to 1 1/4 inch thick log. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours.
Or you can slice the logs into 1/3 inch cookie rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and keep in the freezer for up to two weeks.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. If your cookies are frozen and pre-sliced you can place directly on baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch space between each cookie.
If they aren’t pre-sliced, using a sharp knife slice each log into cookie rounds 1/3 inch thick. Place cookies on sheet leaving 1/2 inch between each cookie.
Bake cookies for 10 – 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. Cool on baking sheet for a minute or two then transfer to a wire cooling rack. They can be kept in an air tight container for about a week or baking it the freezer for a month.
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