Making Italian butter cookies without a cookie press or piping is super easy. Using just 6 basic ingredients, my recipe for these classic bakery style cookies are absolutely melt in your mouth deliciousness.
Cut the dough with a cookie cutter into shapes, either festive or plain. Top with a cherry before baking or dip in chocolate and sprinkles after baking. Soft, rich and buttery, this simple recipe makes the perfect any day, any occasion bake.
Easy cookie cutter Italian Butter cookies
While Italian butter cookies are traditionally made using a cookie press or piping bag, you can easily make them without.
Using Cookie cutters is a great alternative to pastry bags or a cookie press. Plus, you to get to enjoy the same delicious flavour and texture of traditional Italian butter cookies.
Try an assortment of shapes to suit the occasion. Festive stars and trees are perfect for Christmas or simple plain cutouts, to enjoy with your coffee.
Tips for the ultimate batch of Italian Butter Cookies ALWAYS
Use these great tips with images to help make the ultimate batch of Italian Butter Cookies ALWAYS. The full printable recipe card is at the end of this post.
- Cream the butter and sugar WELL.
Cream the butter and sugar well for at least 5 to 8 minutes.
An electric handheld or stand bowl mixer is helpful to aid in the creaming process.
The creamed butter and sugar should be pale white and fluffy in texture. The result will be lighter cookies as opposed to a dense heavy batch of cookies.
- Chill the dough before shaping with cookie cutter.
Please do not skip this step, it's really important.
Wrap the dough in plastic/cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes before cutting into shapes.
Cookies made from chilled dough are so much more flavorful too.
As the dough chills, it gradually dries out, concentrating the flavors of all the ingredients.
This results in cookies with a nice even bake and golden brown color.
Chilling cookie dough in the fridge before baking allows the butter to re-solidify after it has softened during beating.
The butter then slowly melts when baked, keeping the shape of the cookies
Refrigerating the dough also firms it, making cutting and shaping much easier.
- Roll the dough out evenly
For the cookies to bake evenly, the dough needs to be rolled out evenly.
To make it easier, divide the dough in 4 before rolling. Smaller portions make rolling out the dough much easier.
If you find that the dough is sticking to your rolling pin, then roll the chilled dough between 2 sheets of wax or baking/ parchment paper.
This ensures that the dough does not stick to the rolling pin. It also eliminates the need for dusting more flour as you roll out the dough.
- Cutting the perfect cookie shapes
Dip the cookie cutters in flour with each cut.
Work from the center of the rolled-out dough to the edges, cutting shapes close to one another to prevent extra scraps and extra re-rolling.
Whichever type of cookie cutter you choose, flour it and then set it on the rolled-out dough.
Press straight down. Try not to twist the cookie cutter as you lift it off the dough. Twisting the cutter, can distort the shape of the cookies.
- Line your baking sheet with baking /parchment paper
It might be tempting to skip lining your baking sheet with baking/parchment paper, but it can sometimes affect the texture of your baked cookies.
Lining with parchment paper keeps the cookies off the direct heat of the baking sheet, which reduces the amount of spreading and avoids the cookies sticking to the tray
It allows the base of the cookies to bake to a perfectly light and golden colour and avoids over-browning
- The best way to transfer cut out cookie dough to the lined baking sheet (without breaking or damaging the shapes)
The dough is soft, so lifting the cut out shapes with your fingers can distort or damage the cookies.
Avoid this by sliding a floured spatula under the cutout shape and gently place it onto the lined baking sheet.
- Bake to perfection
Use the baking time given in the recipe only as a guide. This is because all ovens are different.
The cookies are baked when the edges are set and lightly browned. The top centers can look and feel soft when removing from the oven.
Keep in mind that cookies continue to cook for a couple minutes as they cool on the baking sheet. They will crisp as they cool. For a crispier cookie, bake the batch a few minutes little longer until the centers appear set.
But again, always keep in mind that cookies continue to cook for a couple minutes as they cool on the baking sheet.
Leave the baked cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before them transferring to a cooling rack.
Make ahead dough
The dough can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Get the dough out of the fridge about 10 minutes before rolling and cutting out.
- Dust with sifted powdered sugar after baking
- Top with candied cherries before baking
- Dip the cooled baked cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkles.
- Sandwich the cookies with jam after baking.
Store the baked cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my other amazing cookie and slice recipes
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