Scandinavians and Wisconsinites and Their Butter

There was a national crisis in Norway during the Christmas season of 2011, a severe butter shortage.  Which might not sound like a real crisis and compared to famine, war and lost children it's not. However, in any Scandinavian country it is hard to imagine any holiday (or any other baking day) not having an abundance of buttery baked goods. This tradition traveled with the Scandinavian immigrants that settled here in Wisconsin.  Until 1967 it was illegal to use margarine in the state of Wisconsin.  And in the same year as the Norwegian butter crisis a group of state legislators tried and failed to have a law repealed that made it illegal to serve a "butter substitute" in schools, prisons or restaurants.  We love our butter and one of the best ways to show off buttery goodness is in a butter cookie.  

Butter Cookie Recipe

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 14 tablespoons of soft butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg (a double batch is shown here).  Place ingredients on a counter top.

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 14 tablespoons of soft butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg (a double batch is shown here).  Place ingredients on a counter top.

Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Refidgerate for one hour.

Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Refidgerate for one hour.

Roll thin, about an 1/8th of an inch.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Roll thin, about an 1/8th of an inch.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

One of the great aspects of this recipe is how  versitale it is.  Add finely ground nuts or orange peel to the dough.  Cut out shapes, bake and dip in chocolate.  Finely grated lemon peel and poppy seeds.  Sprinkle the tops with Swedish Pearl Sugar or colored sugar.  Your choices are only limited by your  imagination (and physics of course).   

After the cookies have cooled, fill with a chocolate filling (i cup chopped chocolate or chips and one stick of butter) or Nutella or jam.

After the cookies have cooled, fill with a chocolate filling (i cup chopped chocolate or chips and one stick of butter) or Nutella or jam.