This month, we’re featuring simple desserts—things you can whip up easily with just a few ingredients. These delicious butter cookies from Cara at Big Girls Small Kitchen can be made with just flour, butter and sugar. Here’s how to make them…

Three-Ingredient Butter Cookies
by Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls Small Kitchen

Every time I pull these three-ingredient butter cookies from the oven I’m amazed that I made these melt-in-your-mouth treats with nothing but butter, sugar and flour. That has to be the simplest cookie in the world! I bake them for late-night sugar cravings or last-minute guests. The three baking mainstays turn into a crumbly and rich cookie that’s very, very good.

Of course, loving simple sweets doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes want to complicate things. Fortunately, you can decorate these butter cookies with almost anything that suits your fancy—or that you find in the back of your pantry or fridge. Though whipping up the dough is a one-person job, it’s fun to recruit a helper to flatten and garnish each cookie.

What to garnish with? Sometimes I embrace my inner kid and decorate with sprinkles or chocolate chips. Other times, I turn the cookies into sophisticated bites, with pine nuts, sesame seeds, goji berries or grains of sea salt. You could do a row of any topping that appeals!

Recipe: Three-Ingredient Butter Cookies

You’ll need:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Garnishes (optional): walnuts, sprinkles, goji berries, chocolate chips, blanched almonds, shelled pistachios, pine nuts, big grains of sea salt, tiny spoonfuls of jam—or whatever you like!

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer or your very strong arm, cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until it turns white, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue to beat for about five minutes, until very smooth and creamy. The combination will look a lot like buttercream! Retire the mixer and slowly work in the flour with a spatula. The dough will be really soft, but that’s fine.

Take walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls, then flatten slightly. Place them on the baking sheet three inches apart (the cookies will spread a bit). Make a dent in the center with your finger and place your garnish, if using one, into the center of each cookie. (If you’re using jam, make a deeper dent so it doesn’t pour out.)

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, watching carefully—you want to catch the cookies right when they’re firm and just barely beginning to get golden around the edges. It’ll depend a little bit on your oven, which is why I gave a big range. Cool cookies on the sheets for 10 minutes, then use a thin spatula to move them to a rack to cool completely.

Thank you so much, Cara!

P.S. No-bake French silk pie and Nutella banana bread.

(Photos and recipe by Cara Eisenpress. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for her help with this series)