A few years ago, when I was living in the housing co-op and looking for a quick cookie recipe, I came across a blog post for something called “Norwegian Christmas butter squares.” I’d never found anything like it before: it created rich, buttery and chewy cookies, like a vastly superior version of the holiday sugar cookies I’d eaten growing up. About a year ago I went looking for the recipe again, and failed to find it. The blog had been taken down, and it sent me into momentary panic.
Luckily, I remembered enough to find it on the Wayback Machine, and quickly copied it into a file that I’ve saved ever since. I probably make these cookies about once a month, and they last about five days around my voracious husband - they’re fantastic with a cup of bitter coffee or tea. I’m skeptical that there is something distinctively Norwegian about these cookies, but they do seem like the perfect thing to eat on a cold day.
Norwegian Christmas Butter Squares
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
Turbinado/ Raw Sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chill a 9x13″ baking pan in the freezer. Do not grease the pan.
Using a mixer, blend the butter, egg, sugar, and salt together until it is creamy. Add the flour and vanilla and mix using your hands until the mixture holds together in large clumps. If it seems overly soft, add a little extra flour.
Using your hands, press the dough out onto the chilled and ungreased baking sheet until it is even and ¼ inch thick. Dust the top of the cookies evenly with raw sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees until the edges turn a golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool for about five minutes before cutting the cooked dough into squares. Remove the squares from the warm pan using a spatula.