The holidays are a time for tradition and that extends to baking, especially where cookies are concerned. But making the same thing in the same way, year in and year out, can get a little stale, which is why I love trying a fresh twist even when I’m making an old favorite. This versatile butter cookie recipe is the perfect base for all kinds of flavor experimentation. For these festive cookies, I took flavor cues from the classic hot buttered rum cocktail and added a hint of rum, nutmeg, and orange zest. The result is a sophisticated butter cookie that’s perfect for your more grown-up holiday festivities.
Buttered Rum Cookies
adapted from King Arthur Flour
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours or more for dough to chill
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 dozen cookies
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, taking time to scrape down sides as you go. Add egg yolk and rum, continuing to scrape down sides as needed.
- In a small bowl, mix the sea salt and flour.
- Turn mixer to low, and slowly incorporate the flour mixture, orange zest, and nutmeg. Mix just until dough starts to clump up and holds together when squeezed.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a large mound. If dough is too crumbly, add a drizzle of ice water. Divide dough into 2 discs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and set in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove 1 dough disc from fridge and set out for 20 minutes or until dough is workable. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to create shapes, placing cutouts on prepared baking sheets. Gather scraps, re-roll, and cut until you’ve used all the dough.
- Bake cookies in batches for 11-14 minutes, or just until the edges are a very light golden brown. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
- Repeat for second disc.
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, plus more for garnish
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- In a small bowl, mix together confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, rum (if using), and nutmeg. Stir until smooth. Use remaining tablespoon of juice to adjust the icing for spreadability, according to your preference.
- Drizzle icing on cookies and use the back of a spoon to spread. While icing is still wet, add orange zest and grated nutmeg for garnish.
- Allow frosting to harden before storing. Keep finished cookies sealed at room temperature for up to 3 days.