While I was leafing through a cookie cookbook recently, a newspaper clipping came fluttering out–it was a recipe for Senn High School Butter Cookies. I attended Steinmetz High School in Chicago, and Senn High School was in the next district over, so I probably clipped the recipe for sentimental reasons. A pound of butter might seem extravagant just for cookies for the lunchroom, but at that time schools often used government surplus foods such as butter. Blending the sugar until fine is my own addition–it makes these cookies literally melt in the mouth.
Made of only butter, sugar, and flour, these cookies basically are molten pools of butter in cookie form. The crackly brown edges shatter at first bite, and the interior of the cookie is delicately soft. The flavor is that of wonderful shortbread. These would make delicious shortcakes, topped with sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. You can easily make just half of this recipe.
Extra-Buttery Butter Cookies2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature 1-1/2 cups sugar, plus extra for topping cookies 3-1/2 cups flour 2 teaspoons vanilla or lemon extract
Place the sugar into a blender and blend until fine and powdery. This will take four or five stops and starts of the blender.
Beat butter until light, and add sugar, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Add vanilla or lemon extract.
Add flour a little at a time, beating until dough comes together into a rough ball.
Roll dough into balls. To make large cookies (4-1/2″ across) use a 1/4 cup measuring cup of dough. To make smaller cookies (3″), use a rounded tablespoon of dough. Roll smoothly into balls and then roll in additional sugar. Place on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until edges are golden brown and cookie is firm, about 15 minutes. This recipe will make 10 to 12 large cookies and 14 to 16 small.