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recipe for classic deli butter cookie?

My hometown, Downers Grove, IL, has a great bakery downtown, Busy Bee Bakery, that makes the best butter cookies. "Butter cookies" means a lot of different things to different people, so the type I'm referring to are the ones that you commonly find in a deli and buy by the pound, with a kind of swirl pattern like they were made with a cookie press, and decorated with all different colors of sprinkles. They're firm but not crisp -- they shouldn't make a sound when you break them, but they shouldn't bend either -- and they have a melt-in-your-mouth sort of texture.

I live in NC now and don't have access to fantastic deli butter cookies any more. So, I want to make my own. Does anyone have a recipe for this particular type of butter cookie? I've found tons of butter cookie recipes, of course, but like I said, that means different things to different people, so I don't want to try dozens of the wrong types of butter cookies (waistline can't handle that much experimentation!). I'm not sure if the type I'm looking for has a specific name that would help me track down a recipe more successfully. Any help is welcome.

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  1. I make these every year, and I call them Bakery Cookies (my friend gave me her aunt's recipe from the bakery where she worked). I'm sure the official name is just Butter Cookies or something similar.

    1 lb butter
    1/2 cup sugar
    4 cup flour

    Mix all, 2 cups of flour at a time.

    Shape like the top half of your index finger, then press with a floured fork (that'll make your "swirl"). Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minuts, you don't want to brown them.

    Then I cool and sandwich with heated preserves (apricot usually), dip one end in melted chocolate, and sprinkle some sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Not sure how yours have the sprinkles attached.

    I helped a friend who owned a deli make a ton of these one year, basically the same but he added egg, I think mine are a lot lighter tasting.

    6 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Thanks coll. I might try these this weekend. Just to make absolutely sure: salted butter and all-purpose flour?

      Thanks!
      Zoe

      1. re: zomigi

        Definitely all purpose flour. Butter I use salted but don't know if it matters all that much. Hope you like them, they're a favorite around here, and look so pretty too.

        1. re: coll

          Excellent cookies! They really do taste like the bakery cookies I ate as a child in New York. This is especially true when you coat the cookies with chocolate.
          I used dipping chocolate from the craft store (Michael's) and topped it all with sprinkles. I also used margarine (sticks) since I was out of butter. Very authentic!!!!!

          1. re: joaniesl

            I just realized that new replies go back a lot of pages, sorry. So glad you like the cookies, it wouldn't be Christmas around here without them!

            1. re: coll

              Let me just say THANK YOU!!! I always had the reputation for making the worst cookies....but this weekend my son thought they were from our local bakery.

              1. re: joaniesl

                That makes me so happy! And they're appropriate for any occasion.

    2. I think you failed to mention that it also important to soften the butter..room temp.....and then whip it till it is fluffy before you add the other ingrediants. If you use sweet butter you would have to add a small amount of salt...maybe 1 tsp to the four cups of flour. Thanx for the receipe. A woman I knew use to make them but wouldn't give a soul the receipe but always begged for one of yours. All I can remember was her saying, look for one that has no baking soda or baking powder...and now I know I have found it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lizm6868

        Glad to pass it on. I never understand people who won't share recipes. It was one of the first cookies I ever made for Christmas, and the recipe was given to me by my friend Linda so we actually call them Linda Cookies around here. She was the one who called them Bakery Cookies. Now that's a legacy!

      2. I know this is way late on a reply but I came across your question while looking up a recipe for the exact same cookies at this bakery. I was wondering if you found one close to the busy bee bakery recipe.