Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Galletas de Mantequilla / Butter Cookies

My mom made the best butter cookies in the world. She use to make them when she was a cook for the El Paso Independent School system. The kids would devour them, but of course she always managed to bring a couple home for us. I still have her original notes and recipe well guarded. It's a simple recipe, only four ingredients. And it's so versatile I can't begin to describe all the ways my kids and I have made this recipe: the shapes, the colors and the flavors. For the holiday season, I would like to share with you this wonderful recipe. Your children will be able to make them easily with little help from you. Enjoy and know that's it's from the heart.

Galletas de Mantequilla
(Butter Cookies)

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
½ cup sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla
2 to 2½ cups flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Slowly, add flour and knead to combine well. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes for easier handling. Roll out a small portion of the dough between two pieces of wax paper to ¼ inch thickness. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out desired shapes. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes (middle of oven) at 325°. If desired, before chilling dough, add food coloring during the mixing process. Also, after cutting with cookie cutters, you may sprinkle shapes with colored decorating sugars. Makes about 1 ½ to 2 dozen, depending on size of shapes cut.

Butter Cookie Pecan Sandies
(makes about 3 dozen)

Prepare the Butter Cookie dough and add 1 cup chopped pecans. Roll into a log and refrigerate for 40 minutes. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Thumb Print Cookies
(makes about 3 dozen)

With this recipe, you make roll 1 inch balls (after the dough has been in the refrigerator of 40 minutes). Have a cup of finely chopped pecans. Roll half of the 1-inch alls in the pecans, the others leave as is. Using your thumb, press an indentation in the middle of each cookie before baking in the oven. When you remove the cookies, allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then with a spoon, top each indentation of each cookie with jam or preserves. We used raspberry, cherry and apricot. Actually, we got carried away and even topped some of the cookies with a Hershey kiss.

Snowball Surprise
(makes about 3 dozen)

Here we took the same recipe but added 1/4 cup of cocoa. Allow the dough to rest in fridge for 40 minutes. Take a scant amount of the dough and flatten in your hand. Place an unwrapped piece of chocolate (like a Hershey kiss) and place in the middle of the dough. Wrap the chocolate piece with the dough and roll around in the palms of your hands to form a ball. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Then of course, there are the regular cookie cutouts. You can tint the dough with food coloring or use colored sugar sprinkles for the top. You can frost the baked cookies with homemade buttercream frosting. Use your imagination. Better yet, let the kids come up with their own unique cookie for the holiday.
Be sure and check out
The Chocolate Shop
for last minute online shopping.


Tina Butler said...

Teresa all those cookies sound so good. The cookie platter looks so pretty. Great Job!!

Karen said...

Beautiful plate of cookies! I love the recipe with only 4 ingredients and love that you can make so many different cookies from it!

vanillasugarblog said...

Oh these look soooooo good!!!

anudivya said...

What a pretty cookie platter, all of them look so different and so good.

Gloria Chadwick said...

Teresa -- Great minds think alike! These are my Christmas cookies! The exact recipe! I make the butter cookie pecan sandies (we call them Pecan Snowballs) and thumbprint cookies every year (we call them Kolachky). I put the fruit filling in before baking; we use grape jam and peach preserves. I used to make these with my daughters when they were younger and now I make them with my grandsons. :)

Reeni said...

What a delicious and pretty bunch of cookies! We make Pecan Sandies every year. I think it is the same recipe. Everyone goes crazy for them, they just melt in your mouth. Thanks for sharing all of your yummy variations.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful table of cookies! I particularly like the thumbprint recipe. Yum!

Debbie said...

Wow...that's the prettiest picture ever. It makes me want to grab a cookie, a book and sit by the Christmas tree all night long!

VG said...

Thanks for sharing Teresa. Bookmarked the recipe.

Jill said...

I live in El Paso and I'm really enjoying your blog!

Finla said...

Wow that is a whole lot of cookies, they all look delicious

Maria said...

Those are great Christmas cookies Teresa! My kids will love not only eating them but making them too!

Arlene Delloro said...

That recipe is suspiciously like my mom's ITALIAN butter cookies, lol. Seriously, they look beautiful and sound better en espanol. Hola!

Megan said...

Well this little cookie sounds like a gem. I have to make a bunch of cookies to make for a party this weekend and this sounds like a quick, easy and delicious cookie! :)

Dibs said...

Hello Teresa - Thanks so much for sharing this! I loved the one where you can fill in jam! What a coincidence -I baked my first cookies today - they turned out okay, but not great! Can any eggless cookies be made using a microwave instead of an oven? My mom wants to make them..havent been too successful with the web. All the microwave recipes have egg. And all the eggless one use an oven!!

Esi said...

These look so good. And I love that there are only a few ingredients. Thanks!

Alicia Foodycat said...

They look delicious! Can I have one of each with my coffee please?

RecipeGirl said...

This is the best sort of cookie recipe... and I absolutely love your ideas in variation. Fun!

Kelly said...

I'm glad you were able to share your mother's treasured recipe. I find that often the best tasting recipes are the simpliest and am sometimes embarassed when someone asks for a recipe that I know is actually very simple.

I love that your mother made something from scratch for the schools. So much food is pre-prepared today that the thought of from scratch food sounds wonderful to me.

Anonymous said...

I went to school in the El Paso Independent School District and I was one of the kids that would devour these cookies years ago! Usually, they were rolled out and cut into an a farily large round cookie and rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Imagine my delight when I googled to find the recipe and found your article. Can't wait to start baking!! Thanks so much for posting it!

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