Homemade Danish butter cookies are the perfect cookie to share and give as edible gifts! Make your own tin of cookies with different unique piped designs.
Do you remember those shiny round blue tins filled with sweet buttery treats that always show up around the holidays? My grandparents used to always get them as gifts from their friends, and they would be sitting on their coffee table waiting for all of the grandchildren to devour.
My favorite was the pretzel-shaped cookies with the crunchy sugar on top. I couldn’t stop eating them! Now that I’m a BIG kid, I thought it was time to make these vanilla Danish butter cookies as a homemade treat for my friends and family. They make awesome edible gifts!
The cookie batter is a simple combination of fluffy butter, sugar, flour, vanilla bean, egg, and salt. It couldn’t get any simpler than that my friend.
I used a piping bag and 1/2-inch round and star tip (Ateco 806 for round and 824 for star tips) to create the fluted pretzel, wreaths, and circle-shaped cookies. You can also place the dough in a resealable plastic bag, cut off a 1/2-inch tip and create the wreath shaped cookies by making conjoined circles, shown below.
Aren’t these adorable cookies when filled in white paper cups and packed into festive tins? I found these Christmas decorated tins at the 99 cent store. They had a lot of sizes, shapes and color options for a great price.
These cookies are crisp with an aromatic vanilla flavor from real vanilla beans. If you don’t have access to vanilla beans, the paste alternative or extract can be used. If you use vanilla extract, you just won’t get the freckled appearance. I also sprinkled the tops of these cookies with sparkling coarse sugar, but you can also use granulated sugar.
Vanilla Danish butter cookies are perfect for dipping in tea or coffee, as they are very sturdy. If you’re like me and prefer to make personalized DIY gifts for the special people in your life, you can have fun creating your own cookie tin. I like to add a variety of treats like Milano cookies too. Happy baking!
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How do I make the cookie shapes if I don’t have a piping bag or tips?
That’s okay! Medium to large resealable plastic bag works well to create these cookies. You can cut the corner off the side of the bag to the desired thickness, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch cut works well. Use your imagination to create different shapes and designs. The dough is pretty stiff and does not spread much during baking. Designs that are meant to have a hole in the center like the wreaths, make sure to make the center gap big enough, so it doesn’t close completely after baking.
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Vanilla Bean Danish Butter Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, (8 ounces) softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, (3 ½ ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped, (or 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste)
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, (10 ounces) measured then sifted
- Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 350°F (177ºC).
- Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add salt, vanilla, and egg to the butter mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Gradually add the flour to the bowl, mixing on low speed until the dough is just mixed, about 1 minute.
- Line two large sheet trays with parchment paper.
- Scrape the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1⁄2-inch star tip or desired tip.
- Pipe 1 ½ to 2-inch pretzel or wreath shapes onto the parchment paper-lined sheet trays, at least 2-inches apart.
- Sprinkle tops of the cookies with granulated sugar or large coarse sparkling sugar if desired.
- Bake until lightly golden on the bottom, about 11 to 13 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then remove the cookies and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for 5 days.
- Gold Medal all-purpose flour was used in this recipe.
- Shortbread cookie dough tends to be thicker than other piping doughs. If needed you can add 1 to 3 teaspoons of milk, 1 teaspoon at a time to the dough if it's difficult to pipe and combine until just mixed.
- The longer you let the dough sit in the piping bag, the thicker it becomes. Try to pipe right after making the dough if possible.
- The butter should be soft but still cool and firm to the touch, 60 to 65°F is ideal (16 to 18°C).
- If the cookie dough is too soft to pipe and does not hold its shape, gradually add 1 tablespoon (9 g) of all-purpose flour at a time, adding more as needed up to 1/4 cup (36 g). The dough typically gets thicker as it sits as the proteins absorb the moisture, so try to wait a few minutes in between adding additional flour.
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