butter cookies and Cookiepedia

I recently received a copy of Stacy Adimando’s new book, The Cookiepedia, Mixing, Baking and Reinventing the Classics.

Bright and beautifully photographed, this charming cookie catalog has it all – classic recipes and inventive remakes of everything from amaretti and animal crackers to gingersnaps and rugelach.

With whimsical illustrations and helpful tips on nearly every page, The Cookiepedia features special sections of ideas and instructions, including The Cookie Baker’s Cheat Sheet, Kitchen Tools, and Fun with Decorating.

This practical primer is both durable and efficient in design – a wire comb binding allows the book to lie flat while you work! Genius:

Deciding on a recipe to make first was a challenge – with so many delicious choices I know what book I’ll be baking with this winter! I was narrowing my choices when I saw them. Butter cookies. Without question my favorite cookie growing up.

My mom had a baking book that we now concede was not a good book. Unless you baked all the time. The idea behind the book was a single recipe for a very large batch of basic, all purpose baking mix. In place of listing measurements of dry ingredients, each recipe simply stated an amount of this signature baking mix. My favorite cookies from that book were butter crescents.

yes, this cookie.

I knew I had to make them.

butter balls

makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add Β the flour and salt and continue mixing until a dough forms. Gently stir in walnuts by hand.

Chill dough in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour. Roll into 1-inch balls, then place them on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 until just set but not yet browning, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Once the cookies cool, roll them in powdered sugar. Then bite into one and marvel at the delicious way it melts in your mouth.

This recipe was very easy to make vegan and gluten free – I simply subbed gluten free ap flour and Earth Balance soy free margarine.

I was immediately transported back to my childhood and my favorite cookie. My favorite cookie that I can now make with this simple recipe anytime I want.


What is your favorite childhood cookie, snack, food that instantly takes you back?




  1. says

    Yum! My grandmother’s sugar cookies always take me back. They were crunchy and crumbly and also with colorful sprinkles. As I’ve gotten older, I prefer chewy cookies – I’m picturing a GIANT ginger cookie right now. My sweet tooth has a mind of it’s own. :) Happy Friday!

  2. says

    Those would be super easy to make with earth balance I bet and still get a very similar end result.
    My favorite cookies when I was a kid where these poor man’s chocolate chip cookies my mom made. They were shortening based and low in sugar. To this day, I don’t understand why people use SO MUCH sugar in cookies when it just isn’t necessary. I’ve seen vegan cookies with 2 cups of sugar in a recipe with only 3 cups of flour. That’s way too much to me.
    1 c shortening, 1/2 c sugar, 1 egg, 1 t vanilla, 2 1/4 c self rising flour, a bag of chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes…
    As an adult, I cringe at the idea of self rising flour πŸ˜‰

  3. says

    Tollhouse cookies! My mom made them about once a week. When I was finally old enough to start making them on my own they always turned out flat. That was almost over 15 years ago but I STILL have to defend my cookie making abilities because of all the early year fails. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a butter cookie?!

    • spabettie says

      mmm, another classic – I love tollhouse! and never tried a butter cookie!? I wish I could send you some of these! πŸ˜€

  4. says

    omg that cookbook looks awesome! I need to get that!

    Do u have a kitchen aid stand mixer? Didn’t know if you used one!

    My favorite cookie was peanut butter blossoms!

    Happy Weekend! xoxo <3

    • spabettie says

      I do have a kitchen aid and I love it – but this recipe is so easy I whipped it up quickly – hand mixed in a bowl! :) I hope you’re having an awesome weekend, Katie!

  5. says

    buttttterrrr, I love butter. I could definitely go to town with these cookies. Do they taste like shortbread?
    My favorite childhood cookie were the peanut butter cookie with a hershey kiss pressed on top. loved.

    • spabettie says

      they DO taste like shortbread, but are SO soft – melt in your mouth fantastic. Mmm! I love those peanut butter cookies too!

  6. says

    Those cookies sound soo good, minus the walnuts. I don’t care for walnuts in baked goods. πŸ˜€ The cookbook also sounds great. I like the format!

    Christmas cookies take me back to childhood. My mom makes the most amazing chocolate-dipped butter cookies, thumbprints, etc. I can’t wait for Xmas!!

    • spabettie says

      I’m not a big walnut fan, either… I actually processed mine instead of chopping them – they were good to me that way! Christmas is always a big baking time for me too – love the cookies! πŸ˜€

  7. says

    My great aunt used to make us these amazing sugar/shortbread type cookies. She’d send us a few coffee cans full of them around Christmastime and then we’d spend time decorating them with sugar. Whenever we make them I instantly think of her and how much we’d look forward to those coffee cans!

    I pinned your first picture because those cookies look too good :)

  8. Laura says

    Now, seriously. I’m trying to lose weight and save some money. You need to stop having such wonderful recipes and pretty pictures of delicious food!!! And what a wonderful book! Now I might need to get it so I can bake w/ my kids. My mom is a fantastic baker. I grew up w/ the best sugar cookies and the butter cookies that you ran through the press to make into trees or whatever other shape we had, mostly I remember the green trees at Christmas time!! The best ever!!!

    • spabettie says

      hee – sorry about that, Laura! πŸ˜‰

      I LOVE the spritz cookies – I have one of those spritzers, have not used it in years! perhaps I will make some this year – I love the green trees too!

  9. megan (the long-winded one) says

    My grandmother made these cookies but rolled them out and called them Nutty Fingers. Every Christmas we had nutty fingers, date nut balls, her fudge pie (that I’ve never been able to duplicate), tea cakes (that I always managed to eat more dough than the baked cookie), and japanese fruit pie. I’m allergic to pumpkin (the whole squash family that branches out to include damn near everything tasty and delicious like tomatoes) so my grandmother always made sure pumpkin pie was left out at Christmas since it was everywhere at Thanksgiving.

    This book will be added to the list of cookbooks I want for this Christmas!

    • spabettie says

      it’s a good book and would definitely make a great gift! πŸ˜€

      your grandma IS AWESOME for leaving out pumpkin pie!! I love her. fudge pie sounds amazing, and I’m intrigued by Japanese fruit pie – I’d love to know more…

  10. says

    Cookiepedia?! I love it! :-) Those look so good, Kristina. Might have to tweak them a tad more for my current preferences, but I so love butter cookies. πŸ˜‰ Instead of cut-out sugar cookies, we make cut-out butter cookies. :-)


    • spabettie says

      I do that a lot too, or a shortbread cut out. all similar flavors, these are so good! thanks again for sharing on facebook πŸ˜€

    • spabettie says

      hi Judy! I have this recipe, and I am working on another right now – making it both gluten free and vegan. This recipe works, but does take some kneading and patience to come together πŸ˜€

  11. says

    To make these gluten free, do you need to add xanthan gum? I love the tea cookies that everyone’s talking about. Whenever I bake, I always use less sugar than the recipe calls for, doesn’t mess up the recipe one bit.

    • spabettie says

      nope – all I did was sub in gluten free all purpose flour. these are just like the tea cookies that I remember!

  12. says

    If I’m being honest, the snacks that instantly take me back are zebra cakes and swiss cake rolls. πŸ˜‰ As for homemade sweets, though, it’s my moms pumpkin muffins. Best in the world!

    These cookies look wonderful. And a recipe for animal crackers in that book?! Yum.

    • spabettie says

      ha – I love it! :) I don’t think I’ve had a zebra cake? pumpkin muffins or bread – some of my favorite!

      yes – the book is fun, the animal crackers look good!

  13. says

    I LOVE butter cookies! Throw a little almond extract in that dough and I’ll be in Heaven!! I think one of the most nostalgic foods out there for me is a warm toaster strudel…haven’t had one in YEARS but just the thought of them reminds me of so many things from my childhood!

  14. Linn says

    I want this book!! thanks for the fun review – I just found your website and your writing is fun and keeps me wanting more (I’ve been reading your posts all afternoon!). I especially like your review posts, this and the restaurants.

  15. says

    Would you believe my Grandma’s Pecan Butter Balls? I didn’t check recipe specifics but it is the same cookie and I’ve been making them since I was a very little girl. I make several batches for the holiday and there is always a small bag tucked into each gift. They are the epitome of my Grandma and making them makes me think of her like she was still right here with me.

    • spabettie says

      I almost made this recipe with pecans… and plan to next time! what a great gift giver you are – and the recipients are lucky :)

  16. says

    Ooooooh! I want that cookbook!!!

    My favorite treat that takes me back to my childhood would have to be peanut butter blossom cookies. My dad is practically a master when it comes to baking cookies and my childhood was full of them. I still love them!

  17. says

    What a terrific site you have, and what a very well written and thoughtful review. And I will try these cookies. They sound a lot like Mexican Wedding Cookies, also known as Russian Tea Cakes and what we Italians call Palle di Neve. But most of all, I commend you and am very pleased to see that you have obtained the publisher’s permission to reprint the recipe. So often I see recipes reprinted without permission – with no respect for the author, the publisher or the law. Brava! I can’t wait for your next post.

    • spabettie says

      hello AdriBarr, thank you so much and good to have you here!

      yes, I also know these as Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes, it is good to learn the Italian name as well! and thank you for the nod to the respect for how things should be done. Many blame (and claim!) ignorance, naivete or inexperience when not adhering to standards, but my view is those things should be learned before you begin, not after? :)

      anyway! I appreciate your kind words, great to “meet” you!


  18. Maria says

    looks like a great book (love the name too!!), thank you for sharing with us this nice recipe. your photos are gorgeous, makes me want this cookie all the more.

  19. Travis says

    the photography here is great! my girlfriend was talking about this book, and on a google search I found you! these cookies look great (so I will now buy her the book!) and this website is intriguing! thanks, I will be back.

    • spabettie says

      thank you, Travis – you just made my day!! happy I helped you get this book – she will LOVE it (and I imagine you will too!).

  20. Cassandra says

    Thank you for sharing THIS recipe, I have loved these cookies as a child and found you just now while searching them! well done, these look beautiful!

    This will be a nice book for holiday gifting, I am ordering several. Cheers to you and yours!

  21. Lynne says

    gorgeous photos, I want to reach through the screen! I loved these cookies as a child, I can almost imagine the flavor and how they melt in your mouth!

    I am going to find this book, I bet there are more classics from my childhood! thank you for sharing this great review!!

    -Lynne Frank

    • spabettie says

      hi Lynne! glad I could help you find a great childhood cookie memory, that is exactly what this one is for me too! I would definitely recommend this book for many reasons, happy you are going to get it! Cheers!

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