You’re just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes away from buttery, crisp homemade Danish Butter Cookies! With everyday ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, this is an easy cookie recipe that’s hard to beat.
Some recipes are classics for a reason. Their simplicity and undeniably scrumptious flavors make a lasting impression on generation after generation of bakers (and eaters!).
Almost everyone remembers that blue tin of crumbly butter cookies with the crinkly white liners. But, have you ever opened the tin to satisfy your sweet tooth, only to be greeted with sewing supplies or other miscellaneous junk?
Well, now you can make those beloved Danish Butter Cookies yourself. The recipe is so simple and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish, with just 5 minutes of prep time. They’re the perfect cookie to round out a holiday tray or to keep on hand because they’re just that good.
Why You’ll Love Danish Butter Cookies
- Just 5 Ingredients – These Danish Butter Cookies come together with only a few common ingredients, so you can whip them up virtually any time.
- Simple to Make – Tools like a mixer and piping bag make churning out batch after batch of butter cookies easy. However, you can make this recipe with only a mixing bowl, spoon, and cookie sheet.
- An All-Day Kind of Cookie – These cookies aren’t too sweet, so they’re perfect for any time of day. Dunk them in your morning coffee or tea, satisfy a mid-day sweet tooth, or serve them for dessert.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Butter – Softened, unsalted butter is best for this recipe.
- Sugar – Plain, granulated sugar is all you need to sweeten these cookies.
- Salt – If you’re using salted butter, you can skip the pinch of salt.
- Egg Yolk – A room temperature egg yolk will incorporate into the dough better than a chilled one.
- Flour – All-purpose flour will give you that crispy exterior typical for Danish Butter Cookies.
- Spiced Butter Cookies – Add ¼ teaspoon each of warming spices like cinnamon, allspice, ginger, clove, and nutmeg to the flour.
- Poppyseed Citrus Butter Cookies – Add 2-3 teaspoons of lemon zest to the egg yolk. Mix 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds into the flour.
- Ginger Butter Cookies – Add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger to the flour. You can incorporate crystalized ginger into the dough or use it to decorate the top of the cookies before you bake them.
- Mixer – Either a stand or hand mixer will make this recipe effortless.
- Rubber Spatula – A rubber spatula helps scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to incorporate all the ingredients thoroughly. Plus, it’ll help you get every last bit of dough into the piping bag.
- Cookie Sheet – You can’t make cookies without one!
- Pastry Bag & Large Open Star Tip – A pastry bag and tip can help you achieve those wreathlet butter cookie shapes. However, you could easily skip the piping and create small round or square patties.
- Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mat – Either option will keep the cookies from sticking to the baking sheet.
How to Make Danish Butter Cookies
- Cream – Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer for about 2 minutes. It will become lighter in color, fluffy, and almost double in size.
- Add the Salt and Yolk – Mix the salt and egg yolk into the butter and sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Add the Flour – Slowly incorporate the flour and beat until the dough comes together. Once the dough forms, immediately stop mixing.
- Form the Cookies – Fill a pastry bag with the dough and pipe wreathlets onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet or form your dough patties.
- Decorate – This is optional, but you can sprinkle sugar on top of the dough before baking for a crystalized decorative finish.
- Bake – Bake the cookies in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Once the edges begin to color and turn golden, the cookies are done.
- Cool – Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet.
- Don’t overmix the dough once you incorporate the flour. You don’t want to overdevelop the gluten. Otherwise, the butter cookies won’t have their signature crispy, snappy texture.
- A Wilson 1M piping tip is perfect for these Danish Butter Cookies.
- If you’re shaping cookie dough patties by hand, keep them about ¼ inch thick for the perfect texture.
- The cookies won’t spread, but still, try to keep about an inch of space between each one on the cookie sheet. This way, there will be enough airflow to bake each cookie evenly.
- Even though the cookies may seem soft when you pull them from the oven, they’ll crisp up as they cool.
How to Store
- Room Temperature – Once the cookies are completely cooled, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks.
- Refrigerate – I don’t recommend keeping Danish Butter Cookies in the fridge. The moisture will ruin their texture and make them go stale.
- Freeze – You can store the cookies in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Danish Butter Cookies and shortbread are very similar. However, traditional shortbread won’t have any eggs in the dough. The egg yolk in these cookies acts like a leavener and enriches the flavor of the dough.
If you keep these cookies in an airtight container, they should remain crisp. If the lid accidentally gets left off, you can put them on a baking tray and pop them into a 300°F oven for a few minutes.
For a cookie spread like those beloved holiday cookie tins, create various shapes and bake them all the same. You can make flat rounds and squares by hand. Then, with a star piping tip, whip up wreathlets, horseshoes, flowers, or even pretzel-shaped cookies.
Danish Butter Cookies
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- Add salt and egg yolk and continue beating until well incorporated.
- Add flour, and beat until just mixed.
- Using pastry bag and large open star decorating tip (such as Wilton 1M), pipe wreathlets onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. These will not spread, but try to leave about an inch between each for air flow.
- If desired, sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake in center of oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden. They may seem soft, but they’ll crisp up as they cool.
- Let cool.