Butter Cookies (press cookies)

About this dish

  • Serves: 2
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Method: oven baking

Every Christmas, my family makes several kinds of cookies to give to our friends and family. The cookies are set on a plate, sprinkled with a dose of holiday-colored Hershey Kisses, and wrapped in clear plastic wrap, laid flat under the plate and gathered up by a bow on top. Curly-ribbon is used for the knot and bow. This kind of cookie is one of the easiest to make, and is made all year ’round. My grandmother, whom we call ‘Nonni,’ says I put too many jimmies (sprinkles, for you non-Philadelphians). She says I put so many you can’t see the cookies, or that (the chocolate ones) they look like ants all over the place. I reminded her that the cookie is merely a substrate for the jimmies, however. I also like sprinkled colored sugar, though my mother hates how it tastes ‘gritty’.


  • Cookie press (see below)
  • Baking sheets

These are a version of the traditional Betty Crocker butter press cookies, the kind you squirt out of a cookie press. One kind of press element looks like a comb:


This one isn’t used as a ‘press’ – you squirt out a ribbon of cookie, and lay it ridges-up on the sheet, about 3″ long. The ridges give texture to the top of the cookie, and help hold the jimmies 🙂


A double-batch *barely* fits in a Kitchen-Aid mixer bowl; I prefer to make single batches, which make about 4 cookie sheets, and nearly fills a 10x10x4″ tupperware box.

  • 3/4 C margarine (1.5 sticks; can use 1/2 butter, 1/2 margarine)
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 t rum (helps cut the vanilla so it isn’t so overpowering)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3 1/4 C flour (takes about another 1/2-1 cup)
  • Jimmies (sprinkles)
  • Oil (small amount)
    • anything without strong flavor works, (corn, etc. NOT olive)
    • spray oil works very well)


Beat margarine until creamy (overbeat!). Add sugar, beat until white (overbeat again!). Add salt.

Add eggs one at a time while beating.

Mix baking powder and flour in a separate bowl, add mixture slowly.

Let dough rest 10 minutes before adding additional flour; wait 5 minutes between 1/2 cups, to allow dough to stiffen. Dough should be like thick mashed potatoes (thinner for press shapes, thicker for flat cookies – it’s up to you, and only a matter of easy handling)

Wet hand, inside of cookie press with oil. Press out cookies (no grease on no-stick pans, grease on regular pans). Add jimmies before cooking.

Bake at 375 on raised rack (1/4 from top of oven!), for 15 minutes or so until edges are just getting golden. Do not overcook!

Let cool slightly before removing from non-stick cookie sheets; remove while hot for regular sheets.

Makes 8 dozen. These can be frozen – pack so the jimmies aren’t crushed.