These Holiday Butter Cookies are an ode to that iconic blue tin of nostalgia we all know and love. A simple vanilla and almond scented butter cookie dough takes on 4 classic cookie shapes. Each unique shape has a flair of individuality with buttery ridges that give way to a delicate interior. These festive, melt-in-your-mouth cookies are just sweet enough, with the rich and buttery essence of the beloved original.
When my friends from New Seasons Market asked me to share a family recipe or holiday tradition that shaped me, I struggled to come up with a holiday centric family recipe. While my Apple Bottom Hootenanny Pancakes and Apple Cheddar Pie are both rooted in family memories. These Holiday Butter Cookies stir up deep holiday memories for so many of us.
- An ode to the classic blue tin of Danish Butter Cookies
- 5 styles of Danish Holiday Butter Cookies
- 1 butter cookie dough 4 ways
- How to shape ring-style holiday butter cookies
- How to shape round holiday coconut cookies
- How to shape rectangle-style holiday cookies
- How to shape pretzel-style holiday cookies
- More cheerful cookie recipes to get you in the holiday spirit
- 📖 Recipe
An ode to the classic blue tin of Danish Butter Cookies
I grew up in the 80s and 90s. Back when Kid Cuisine and Bagel Bites were the pinnacle of at-home eating for kids. Our family led busy lives, so cooking and baking together was as rare as finding a star on your Tootsie Pop wrapper.
When it came to the holidays, we followed the same way of life, convenience foods were king. Store bought holiday goodies always made their way into our stockings and holiday memories. There was one treat in particular that made an appearance every holiday season; a classic blue tin of Danish Butter Cookies. You know the one. This recipe for Holiday Butter Cookies is my ode to that tin of nostalgia.
While our family may not have baked sugar cookies and decorated them by the tree. We had plenty of our own, less traditional, traditions. Every Christmas Eve, snow or no, we’d pile in our maroon velvet upholstered Chrysler New Yorker. Then we'd head out to drive by the houses with the biggest and brightest displays. We’d hit a fast food drive-thru, then roll past every house on the nice list.
That search for the most creative and captivating light displays remains one of my most treasured holiday traditions to this day. I’d always sneak a cupcake liner full of the Holiday Butter Cookies to keep me happy between each Griswold homage.
Those Holiday Butter Cookies made an appearance in many of our collective holiday memories
There were plenty of other flashy treats that surfaced in December, but that blue tin of Danish Butter Cookies always called to me. It's something about that snappy bite and melt in your mouth buttery flavor. They are just sweet enough to feel like a treat. However, they light enough to snag a couple every time you pass by the tin.
Classic Butter Cookies are a subtle holiday fixture that linger on the behind the cheery glow of decorative sugar cookies. That’s what made them so special. They don’t steal the show. Each year, the Christmas Butter Cookies quietly show up with their simple shapes, comfortably nestled in that iconic tin.
5 styles of Danish Holiday Butter Cookies
- Vanilla ring
- Coconut style round
- Finnish bread (rectangle)
- Pretzel style
- Country style round
As a child I could never really distinguish the difference in flavor of each individual cookie. Though I had an affinity for the sugared pretzel shape. They still all have a very similar taste to me. Therefore, when developing this Holiday Butter Cookie recipe, I decided to keep it simple by creating one buttery cookie base, scented with vanilla and a hint of almond.
Iconic crisp cookies with a delicate buttery interior
Butter Cookies seem to land somewhere between the crisp sturdiness of a shortbread cookie and a soft and chewy, classic sugar cookie. These Holiday Butter Cookies are the best of both worlds, with buttery ridges that give way to a delicate interior. They seem to melt like snow the moment you bite into one. The individuality of each cookie comes mostly from its shape. I streamlined things a bit and went with just four shapes.
1 butter cookie dough 4 ways
Each vanilla butter cookie has a unique personality, but remains true to its Holiday Butter Cookie roots
Classic Danish Butter Cookies come in multiple, iconic shapes and flavors. When developing this recipe, I kept it simple with 4 basic cookie shapes. The Ring Cookie, the Round Coconut Cookie, the Rectangle Cookie and the Pretzel Cookie. Each shape is a nod to the original.
How to shape ring-style holiday butter cookies
This Ring Cookie may look fancy but it’s actually the simplest of them all. I use a #825 (7/16”) Open Star Pastry Tip to pipe a little horseshoe shaped ring, about 1 ½” in diameter. The Ring Cookies don’t get any sugar, they are just plain piped dough that bakes up with true buttery, vanilla scented flavor.
How to shape round holiday coconut cookies
Since one of the rounds of the original Danish Butter Cookies is coconut flavored, I decided my Round Cookies would be rimmed in shredded coconut. The dough is shaped into a simple slice and bake log. Just before baking, the log is brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with shredded coconut. Then the cookies are sliced and baked with a ring of toasty, golden coconut around the edges.
How to shape rectangle-style holiday cookies
Another simple slice and bake, these Rectangle Cookies get shaped into a rectangular log, then sliced. The tops are brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with sanding sugar for a glitzy finish.
How to shape pretzel-style holiday cookies
While the others are super simple, the Pretzel Cookie is more complicated to shape. Since the dough is delicate, which we want because it gives the cookies their classic buttery bite and delicate texture, this one is tricky to shape. It’s all about the right temperature. If the dough is too cold, it will tear. If it's too warm it may stick and squish.
When it’s just warm enough to be pliable, I shape the dough into small logs about ¼” thick by 6” long, then cross the ends of each log into a ribbon shape. Gently grab the top of the ribbon and fold it down over itself to create a quick pretzel shape. To finish, the Pretzel Cookies are brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with the sanding sugar.
Decorate, chill & bake the Holiday Butter Cookies
This recipe for Holiday Butter Cookies brings the spirit of the original to the kitchen with a glimmer of sentimentality and the sparkle of a sugary finish. To really lean into that nostalgia, package the cookies up in white baking cups nestled into round cookie tins. Make all four shapes or keep it simple with just one or two. Whatever you go with, your friends and family will instantly be transported when they open that tin. Each bite is guaranteed to wrap them in crisp and buttery, sugar-kissed holiday memories.
A great big thank you to my pals and partners from New Seasons Market for sparking nostalgia and supporting me as I developed and refined this classic into a home baked recipe. Seasons greetings, friends. I hope you bring the holidays home with a festive tin of these timeless Holiday Butter Cookies.
This post was made in partnership with New Seasons Market. Follow New Seasons on Instagram and Facebook or check out newseasonsmarket.com to learn more about their commitment to build community through good food.
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