Butter Cookies

When I was a kid all my friends wanted to come home with me for afternoon tea, arriving to the warm smell of my mother’s biscuits baking. This is her Butter Cookie recipe, into which I mix different flavours to make my Cookie Sampler. You can also freeze portions of raw dough, whip them out of the freezer in the evening and bake them before school or morning tea!

Prep time 20 mins + chilling
Cook time 20 mins
Makes about 7 dozen


  • 500g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 4½ cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • flavourings of your choice (see below)


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 3 or 4 oven trays with baking paper. 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, then stir in the flour and baking powder.
  4. The raw dough can be made ahead to this stage and frozen until needed. Defrost before baking.
    To make Cookie Sampler, divide dough into 7 portions. Mix flavourings (see below) into each portion. If not making all 7 variations, divide dough according to the number of variations you are making and increase the flavourings to match.
  5. Taste a little raw dough as you go and adjust the flavourings to suit. 
  6. Chill mixture for 15 minutes. Roll into walnut-sized balls, place on baking trays and flatten slightly. Decorate according to instructions for different flavourings. Bake until lightly golden and set (about 20 minutes). 
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray then transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or jar. They will keep for several weeks – if they become a little stale simply refresh for 5 minutes in an oven preheated to 180ºC.

Cookie Sampler

*Once you’ve made a batch of Butter Cookie dough, divide it into seven and mix a different flavouring into each portion (you’ll get about 12 cookies in each flavour). If you don’t want to make all seven, adjust the flavourings by the appropriate ratio. Cook according to instructions for Butter Cookies.