Pin It!

Classic Butter Cookies

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details

These soft and buttery swirl cookies are partially dipped in chocolate, then decorated with your favorite holiday sprinkles. Every Christmas celebration could use some of these melt-in-your-mouth Butter Cookies!

Want more Christmas cookie ideas? Try these Snowball Cookies or these Frosted Sugar Cookies!

A close-up shot of homemade butter cookies with dark chocolate and sprinkles decorating about half of them

Easy Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

Butter cookies are a traditional Christmas treat that you’ll want to adapt for each and every holiday you celebrate. The cookie dough is piped onto the baking sheet rather than scooped, giving your cookies an eye-catching spiral design! Typically flavored with either vanilla or almond extract, you have the option of dipping them in chocolate or leaving them plain.

Whether or not you add the chocolate and sprinkles, these cookies are fancy enough for any special occasion. They’re also easy enough to whip up on a casual workday! After all, there’s never a bad time to indulge in a classic homemade butter cookie that melts in your mouth with each bite. These are also a great alternative to Spritz Cookies if you don’t have a cookie press.

What You’ll Need

This recipe keeps things simple with a brief ingredient list composed of kitchen staples. Here’s the lineup:

  • Unsalted Butter: At room temperature.
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Egg yolks: ditch the yolks or save for later.
  • All-Purpose Flour Be sure to measure your flour accurately by using a food scale or the spoon and level method of filling the measuring cup.
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract: Or almond extract.
  • Milk: This softens the dough and makes it easier to pipe.
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Wafers: Optional, to be melted for dipping.
  • Sprinkles: These are also optional – they won’t stick to the cookies unless they’ve been dipped in chocolate.
Two swirls of cookie dough beside a double-bagged piping bag on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat

How to Make Butter Cookies

Let’s dive into the process of putting together these cookies. One thing to note is that you should work in batches, baking one tray at a time in the center oven rack. Overloading the oven will cause uneven baking, as trays on the bottom tend to heat faster and brown the bottoms of the cookies too quickly.

Make the Cookies

Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large cookie sheet. I strongly suggest lining it with a silicone baking mat rather than parchment paper – you need something for the dough to stick to.

Cream Butter & Sugar: In a stand mixer, combine the butter with the sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture is well combined.

A scoop of creamed butter and sugar being displayed on a dessert spatula over the remaining mixture

Add Egg Yolks & Extract: Add the egg yolks and the vanilla or almond extract, beating until well combined.

A paddle attachment holding some of the combined butter, sugar, eggs and extract over a large beaker

Add Dry Ingredients: Add the dry ingredients and beat. At this point, you should notice that the dough is starting to form.

The in-progress cookie dough in a large glass beaker after the dry ingredients have been poured in

Add Milk: Add the milk and finish beating until the dough is stiff.

A scoop of cookie dough on a dessert spatula with more cookie dough in a glass beaker underneath it

Prep for Piping: Fit a large piping bag with an Ateco 825 tip or a similar open star piping tip. Add about 1 cup of cookie dough into a separate large piping bag, pressing it into the bottom of the bag. Drop the dough-filled bag into the one with the piping tip. This double-bagging process helps ensure the bag won’t pop from the pressure.

A piping bag fitted with a large open star piping tip beside a second bag containing a cup of dough

Pipe Dough Swirls: Pipe out large swirls, about 1 ½ inches wide, and place them 2 inches apart from each other on the room temperature baking sheet.

This can be frustrating to do. The first couple might not be the same size, or it might feel too stiff, but as you work your way through the bag, it does get easier. You’ll need two hands, you can see how I am squeezing just above the piping tip. The good news is, the dough is really forgiving, so if you mess a couple up, just toss the dough back in the bag.

Butter cookie dough being piped onto a silicone-lined baking sheet with a wide open star piping tip

Bake: Bake one tray at a time for 9-11 minutes.

Let Cool: Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Decorate

Melt Chocolate: These are so so good when dipped in chocolate. Let the cookies cool before dipping. To prevent the chocolate from burning, I always microwave chocolate at 50% power for 30-seconds, stir and then repeat until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Dip Cookies: Dip the cookies about halfway into the melted chocolate. Tap off excess chocolate on the sides of the bowl, then place the dipped cookies onto a lined baking sheet.

Add Sprinkles: Add some sprinkles over the melted chocolate if you’d like.

Let Set: Let the cookies rest until the chocolate has set. Enjoy!

A pile of butter cookies on a countertop with some dipped in chocolate and some left plain

Tips for Success

These quick troubleshooting tips will help you achieve flawless butter cookies on your first attempt. Take it from someone who makes them a lot!

  • Don’t Overfill the Piping Bags: You only want to have about 1 cup of cookie dough in your piping bags at a time. Push about half of the dough down into the bottom of the bag so it fits in the palm of your hand. Pipe out a couple of cookies and push more dough down in the bag.
  • Use That Hand Strength! It may be a bit challenging to pipe out your first two or three cookies, but don’t get discouraged. The dough softens as you go and gets easier to work with. You can pipe out the dough with both hands and then help shape the cookies with your fingers if needed. If you’re still having problems with piping, try cleaning out the piping tip with a knife.
  • Not Happy With a Swirl? If you don’t like the size or shape of your piped out cookie dough, throw it back into the bowl. You can press it down into the piping bag and try again!
  • Only Use Room Temperature Baking Sheets: When you’re baking cookies in batches, sometimes you can get away with re-using a baking pan while it’s still warm. I advise against doing that for these cookies – it can cause the bottoms to brown too quickly.

Variation Ideas

It’s always fun to re-imagine a traditional cookie in a new way. Check out some of these fun variations!

  • Peppermint Butter Cookies: To make these babies even more festive for your Christmas cookie tray, use a combination of vanilla and peppermint extract. Then, decorate your cookies with crushed peppermint rather than sprinkles. Santa would be proud!
  • White Chocolate Butter Cookies: While these cookies are normally dipped in dark or milk chocolate, they taste wonderful with white chocolate too. You could also drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies rather than dipping them into it.
  • Extra Nutty Butter Cookies: Feel free to swap out the sprinkles with your favorite chopped nuts. Go ahead and toast the nuts for extra flavor if you’d like. I love making my cookies with almond extract and topping them with chopped and toasted almonds. SO yummy.
A stack of five butter cookies, two of which are decorated with chocolate and sprinkles

Storage Instructions

Keep these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature once they’ve cooled completely. If you’ve dipped them in chocolate, store them once the chocolate is fully set and place wax or parchment paper between layers if stacking is needed. They will stay fresh for up to a week without the chocolate and for 3-4 days with the chocolate included.

Can I Freeze Butter Cookies?

You can absolutely freeze these cookies if you’d like to store them long-term. Place them in a freezer-safe container with wax or parchment paper between layers if the cookies are dipped in chocolate. Whether or not you’ve added the chocolate, they will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw out your cookies on the counter before serving.

A lace-trimmed dessert plate holding a bunch of butter cookies with Christmas sprinkles and a glass of milk beside the plate
Print
A plain swirly butter cookie on a countertop surrounded by chocolate-dipped butter cookies

Classic Butter Cookies

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 32 cookies

Description

These soft and buttery swirl cookies are partially dipped in chocolate, then decorated with your favorite holiday sprinkles. Every Christmas celebration could use some of these melt-in-your-mouth Butter Cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (126g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 10 oz Ghirardelli Chocolate Wafers (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the butter with the sugar and beat on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Next, add the egg yolks and the vanilla or almond extract and beat until well combined.
  4. Then, add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough starts to form. Add the milk and finish beating until the dough is stiff.
  5. Fit a large piping bag with an Ateco 825 tip. In a separate large piping bag, add about 1 cup of dough, pressing it down to the bottom of the bag. Drop the dough-filled bag into the other one. Pipe large swirls, about 1 ½ inches wide, placing 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake one tray at a time on a room temperature baking sheet for 9-11 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To dip in chocolate, wait until the cookies have cooled completely. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt half the chocolate wafers at 50% power in 30 second intervals; stir after each interval and continue until chocolate is melted. Reduce microwave time as needed so the chocolate does not burn.
  9. Dip the cookies in the chocolate, tap off excess chocolate on the sides of the bowl and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add sprinkles if desired.

Notes

  • To Store: Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temp. If they’re dipped in chocolate, store once the chocolate is fully set and place wax paper between layers if stacking is needed. Enjoy within 1 week without chocolate and within 3-4 days with chocolate.
  • To Freeze: Place cooled cookies in a freezer-safe container with wax paper between layers if dipped in chocolate. Enjoy within 3 months and thaw on the counter before serving.
  • The piping tips I used was an Ateco 825, it’s a large open star tip
  • Don’t Overfill the Piping Bags: You only want to have about 1 cup of cookie dough in your piping bags at a time. Push about half of the dough down into the bottom of the bag so it fits in the palm of your hand. Pipe out a couple of cookies and push more dough down in the bag.
  • Use That Hand Strength! It may be a bit challenging to pipe out your first two or three cookies, but don’t get discouraged. The dough softens as you go and gets easier to work with.
  • Reshape the dough with your fingers if needed. If you’re still having problems with piping, try cleaning out the piping tip with a knife.
  • Not Happy With a Swirl? Throw it back into the bowl. You can press it down into the piping bag and try again!
Nutrition Information:
1 Cookie
109
4.3 g
11.3 mg
6.3 g
11.8 g
0.3 g
1.4 g
32.6 mg
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: buttery cookies, butter almond cookies, traditional christmas cookies

More Christmas Cookies to Try

Soft and chewy cookies hold a very special place in my heart. Here are some of my favorite recipes for Christmas!

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

I accept the Privacy Policy

5 BAKE FROM SCRATCH SECRETS!
Subscribe to my newsletter and get my fav tips to take your cakes & cupcakes to the next level.