These pastel cookies are buttery, soft, and totally melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Simple butter cookies, flavored with vanilla and almond extract and covered in the most beautiful fruit-flavored, pastel powdered sugar. Bet you can’t eat just one! Perfect for spring, Easter, Mother’s Day, baby showers, weddings, or just because.
This post has been sponsored by Minerva Dairy, a premium butter provider and the oldest family-owned creamery in the country.
I love spring! It’s the end of the cold, dreary days of winter and the rebirth of nature with beautiful flowers and a forest of green. So today I’m making butter cookies. I know, you’re thinking, but those are for Christmas! Yes, I usually make them for Christmas and they’re always popular, so I honestly don’t know why I never thought about making them for other occasions.
In truth, I was inspired by an article I saved last year from Martha Steward that gave instructions on how to make pastel-colored powdered sugar with freeze-dried fruit. I thought the colors were so gorgeous that it inspired me to make these pretty pastel cookies.
I first used freeze-dried strawberries in a Strawberry Buttercream on my Strawberry Lemon Cake and the flavor they imparted was out of this world. And, as I guessed, using freeze-dried fruit with powdered sugar turned out to be the loveliest topping for my mom’s buttery, tender butter cookie recipe too. Plus, it made them perfect for any time of year. And, BONUS, there’s no piping, so they’re extra easy, just scoop and bake!
FAQs & tips
You want to use a premium butter, like Minerva Dairy's unsalted butter, as the main flavor for these cookies comes from the butter. Their butter is slow-churned in small batches and contains a whopping 85% butterfat! That just screams rich flavor!
Unsalted butter is your safest choice in recipes as it is easier to control how much salt is added to the dough. All good bakers and chefs consider unsalted butter a standard in baking as just enough can be added as to allow the natural flavor of the foods come through.
The creamed mixture will become lighter in color and appear to have almost doubled in mass. This creaming step helps beat air into the butter while the sugar aids in holding that air in.
When a recipe calls for creaming butter and sugar, it is best to let the butter reach room temperature in order to achieve a creamy, light consistency.
Pro Tip: Do not let the butter melt or get too warm as it won’t be able to hold the air pockets and will lead to a denser cookie. If the butter is too cold, it won’t blend well and the dough will not be smooth.
Ingredients for pastel butter cookies
Unsalted butter: Lends all the flavor, buttery goodness as well as structure to these spring cookies. Make sure to use premium, high-quality butter for the best result.
Sugar: Adds sweetness and enables the butter to hold air when creamed making a softer cookie.
Extracts: Provides the flavor. Vanilla is a customary addition while the almond extract gives it a bit more distinctive flavor. You can omit the almond and double the vanilla extract or pick another favorite extract such as hazelnut, orange, or lemon to add to the vanilla.
Egg yolks: add to the rich, creamy base and provide structure and stability to the batter.
Flour: all-purpose flour works perfectly well for these cookies. Make sure to measure the flour by scooping it into the measuring cup as too much flour can have an effect on the texture of the cookie.
Salt: enhances the flavor of the butter and flour in cookies.
How to make butter cookies from scratch
- Place butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and cream well.
- Continue beating while adding egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extracts.
- Add in flour and salt and mix well.
- Your batter will be thick and creamy but slightly soft. Chill to help these pastel cookies hold their shape while baking.
- After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a medium cookie scoop or a tablespoon and scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they start to brown slightly around the edges.
How to make pastel powdered sugar
Place a single kind of freeze-dried fruit in a small chopper or food processor. Add powdered sugar and process until it becomes a fine powder. I made 3 colors using strawberries, blueberries, and mango.
Once cookies are cooled, dip each cookie into fruit-flavored powdered sugar until well coated.
Once all cookies are coated, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
These pretty in pastel cookies are deliciously rich, soft and buttery with just a hint of fruit flavor. They are always a popular addition to the spring treats list.
But don’t just make them for spring! Try them for baby showers, using freeze-dried blueberries for little boy blue and freeze-dried strawberries for little girl pink. They’re also perfect for bridal showers or weddings, matching the bride’s color scheme, for Easter and Mother’s Day or just a sweet ending to your next BBQ. Enjoy!
More delicious cookies
Strawberry Mint Cookies use soft and rich with the flavor of fresh strawberries and a hint of mint.
Slice and Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies are a simple to make slice and bake cookies stuffed with chocolate chips and colorful sprinkles.
Creamsicle Cookies have all the delicious vanilla and orange flavor reminiscent of a creamsicle popsicle in cookie form.
- ½ lb. Minerva Dairy unsalted butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
Pastel Powdered Sugar
- ½ cup each freeze-dried strawberry blueberry and mango fruit
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and turns a pale yellow.
- Add egg yolks and extracts and blend well.
- Lower speed on mixer and slowly add flour mixed with salt. Beat until incorporated.
- Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. They do not spread much but I like to keep them about 2” apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a light brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Pastel Powdered Sugar
- Make pastel sugar by combining ½ cup of freeze-dried fruit with ½ cup powdered sugar in a small chopper or food processor. Blend until fine. Place each color in its own bowl.
- When cookies are cooled sufficiently, place each one in one of the colored sugars and coat on all sides. I like to use a spoon to make it easier to coat. Remove to wire rack.
- When you’ve finished all the cookies, store in an airtight container. These cookies will keep at room temperature for about a week and, if there happens to be some leftover (never in my house) you can freeze them for 2-3 months. Psst, you can also freeze the dough prior to baking. When ready to use, thaw in refrigerator then prepare as directed above.