Butter or Sugar Cookies?

Butter or Sugar Cookies?

How do you decide if a cookie made mostly with butter and sugar is a butter cookie or a sugar cookie?  Do you carefully weigh each component and decide based upon preponderance?  No, it’s really much simpler than that.  Ask a five-year old.  The five year-old who lives at 1840 Farm didn’t have any trouble deciding.  In fact, he hadn’t even finished his first cookie before he had his final answer.

While I can make an argument in either direction for these cookies, my son cannot be moved from his firm stance that they belong in the butter cookie camp.  In fact, if I announce that I am making sugar cookies and he runs into the kitchen to taste them warm from the oven, he inevitably looks at me disapprovingly and says, “Are these the sugar cookies you said you were making?”

Don’t get me wrong, he likes these cookies.  In fact, he will happily eat several before I have to cut him off.  Still, these cookies cannot be called sugar cookies in his world.  That designation is forever reserved for the traditionally sugar sprinkled, round cut out cookies made by his grandmother.  Believe me, I don’t take it personally.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter if you call these butter cookies or sugar cookies.  It only matters that you made cookies from scratch and that you share them with someone special.  The rest is up to interpretation.  That is, unless you’re a five-year old.  In that case, the answer is apparently crystal clear.  Now if I can just convince my mother to make a batch of her sugar cookies.  If she doesn’t share, I might take it personally.

1840 Farm Butter Cookies
makes 24 cookies


Here at 1840 Farm, these cookies are a staple.  They are incredibly flavorful and a great recipe to showcase just how delicious homemade vanilla extract can be.  As they bake, their aroma perfumes the air to the point of making it nearly impossible to wait for them to cool before trying one fresh out of the oven.

While I don’t normally cut them out with a cookie cutter, you certainly could.  For me, these cookies are all about the taste and my family is happy to eat them in hand cut squares which saves me time and keeps the dough from becoming tough from successive rollings.  Because these cookies are basically a sable dough, they store incredibly well.  They stay crispy for several days at room temperature and the vanilla flavor improves as they age.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
96 grams (1/2 cup)  sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
210 grams (1  3/4 cup) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and process using on and off turns until the mixture forms large crumbs.  Do not overmix as this will cause the gluten to develop and prevent the final cookie from having a delicate texture.

Empty dough onto a counter lined with food wrap, waxed paper, or parchment.  Bring dough together with your hands and roll to an even 1/4″ thickness.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you have frozen the dough, remove it from the freezer and allow it to warm up for at least ten minutes before continuing.  Cut dough into desired shape and place cookies on lined baking sheets.  Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for five minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

1840 Farm Butter Cookies on Foodista1840 Farm Butter Cookies

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  1. Thanks for all the information and directions – which I certainly need.
    Really need to try making my own vanilla extract some day, too.
    I will definitely save this for the future. 🙂

    1. Author

      Once you make your own vanilla extract, you’ll be hard pressed to ever buy it at the store again. It is so easy and inexpensive. I’ve been making it for almost four years and am still amazed by how much more vanilla flavor it imparts on the recipes I make with it. Give it a try. You won’t be sorry!

  2. P.S. When you say ‘lined’ baking sheet, what do you use?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us. 🙂

    1. Author

      I use a Silpat liner on my baking sheets. However, parchment paper would work just as well. I prefer the Silpat because it is so durable and reusable. In fact, I’ve been using my two Silpat liners for over a decade and they are still going strong.

        1. Author

          Yes, I agree that reusable is good. I leave the Silpats on my baking sheets which means that they are always ready to use. You can view them in my Amazon store by visiting this link http://astore.amazon.com/1840farm-20/detail/B00008T960 . You can also find them at most kitchen stores. I hope that you enjoy using them. I’d love to hear what you think of them!

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