Old World Butter Cookies


Old World Butter Cookies

Old World Butter Cookies
24 (2 dozen)
1 Hr
16 Min

It seems like everyone has their own way to make these special butter cookies that are coated in powdered sugar. Check out our version, Old World Butter Cookies, and you'll know why we make this recipe every holiday.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac or other brandy (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur (see Notes)

What to Do

  1. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, the egg yolk, cognac (if desired), and vanilla; mix until fluffy.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, walnuts, and salt. Slowly, add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix well; but don't overmix. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow dough to rise.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray.
  4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then place on baking sheet. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden. Immediately sprinkle or lightly brush with orange liqueur.
  5. Place remaining confectioners' sugar in a resealable plastic storage bag; add a few cookies at a time and shake until completely coated. Place on wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.


  • To toast the walnuts, place them in a 350-degree oven for about 6 to 8 minutes or until nuts have slightly darkened.
  • Traditionally, these cookies are made with orange flower water, which can be found online and in specialty stores. However, we've found that orange liqueur or even diluted orange juice work just as well. Just make sure not to drench your cookies in either of these; you just want to give them a light flavor! You can also leave this ingredient out altogether and still end up with tasty butter cookies!

Nutritional InformationShow More

Servings Per Recipe: 24

  • Amount Per Serving % Daily Value *
  • Calories 112
  • Calories from Fat 48
  • Total Fat 5.3g 8 %
  • Saturated Fat 1.0g 5 %
  • Trans Fat 0.0g 0 %
  • Protein 1.7g 3 %
  • Amount Per Serving % Daily Value *
  • Cholesterol 9.7mg 3 %
  • Sodium 31mg 1 %
  • Total Carbohydrates 14g 5 %
  • Dietary Fiber 0.5g 2 %
  • Sugars 7.0g 0 %

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I adore these cookies. So buttery, crumbly and sweet!

Yum! My family looks forward to when I make these cookies every year for Christmas. This one is just like my grandma's recipe from Greece.

I hope to make this old world butter cookies recipe, but I need confirmation on the amount of baking powder. It calls for 1/4 cup baking powder. Surely this is incorrect. Please validate the recipe for me. cjberg@bis.midco.net

Hi there! This recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Enjoy!


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