Swirled Sugar Cookie Development

While traveling last week I saw a recipe for 3 ingredient sugar cookies. QC loves sugar cookies so they moved to the top of DeDe’s Bakery and Confectionery ToDo list.

The original recipe called for just three ingredients, butter, powdered sugar and AP flour. After following the recipe I determined it was not nearly slack enough to pipe into swirls, so I added a fourth ingredient, milk.

I used the first attempted recipe to judge if, with modification, the batter could be modified to allow it to pipe. The second go round (below) I actually measured the amount of milk required to produce a very, very, firm peak, pipeable batter.

I used an Mi piping tip on the first attempt. The piped cookies were very nice, much like roses, but as expected they lost definition after baking. Typical of this type of cookie the butter melts out during baking.

For the second attempt, I used a B4 tip and expected the same result, but perhaps due to the less pronounced ridges it held its shape a bit better. Lucky guess in piping tips. Also, I froze the second attempt rather than just refrigerating.

Swirled Butter Cookies

• 227g (1 c) Unsalted butter
• 118g (1 c) Powdered Sugar
• 256g (2 c) AP Flour
• ¾ c + 2 Tbl milk to thin to piping consistency


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F Convection.) Line 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream at highest speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. The mixture should turn from yellow to white and look like whipped cream when you are done. Make sure to stop and scrape the sides of your bowl a few times with a spatula so that all the butter gets creamed.
  3. Add in the flour ½ cup at a time. Mix in at low speed and then gradually increase speed once flour is incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly at first but then should form a thick, soft dough, almost like a thick paste.
  4. Add milk sparingly until the dough achieves a firm piping consistency. (Think very firm peaks.)
  5. Transfer the dough to a piping bag. Using a large open star tip (an M1 or B4 with a 1/2 inch opening), pipe swirls or whatever design you prefer. Space cookies 1 inch apart. Place piped cookies into freezer for 30 minutes so the dough is chilled. This will prevent them from spreading as much when they bake.
  6. Place the cookie sheets into the middle of your oven. Bake for ~20 minutes or until edges and surface start to turn a light brown. (Rotate cookie sheet after 10 minutes). The fine detail of the piping will flow out as the butter melts, but the swirl should remain.
  7. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet before removing. Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s