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Butter is Back!

Butter is back in favour with a bang! The decision is that you cant beat the flavor.

Butter is making news for another reason too, as prices keep rising. A steady increase in consumption is leading to a shortage on the European market, as reported in this Washington Post article ( There are reports coming in of shortages and price rises in croissants, France’s butter heavy pastry, with boulangeries closing. And English pundits are warning of a shortage of butter and cream at Christmas time in the U.K.

I went to our local emporium, Dublin Cookies, on Thomas Street, to find out how they were fairing. Dublin Cookies produce the best prime ingredient cookies in town, in my opinion. Very butter rich.  They report that butter prices have gone up 25% in the last two months, along with an increase in most of their key ingredients. Let’s hope the crisis slows as I dream at times about their salted caramel pecan cookies.

Ireland’s experience is not as bad as the rest of Europe as our dairy production has gone up by almost 7% but this has not stopped the price increase. The Farmers Journal is reporting a price surge for  of 77% on last year in their May 25 edition. “Prices for butter were €2,400 a ton in April-May 2016, to over €6,000t at the moment – that’s a bubble in any cycle,”Dairygold chief executive Mr Woulfe said, as reported in the Independent on the 4th July.

I can remember when there was the butter mountain in the EEC (as it was then) and those on the dole/lone parent  received a voucher for a block of butter a week. Prices throughout Europe are rising and newspapers are claiming that there is a shortage in Europe as consumers are deciding that butter’s taste can’t be beat and doubt has been cast on the health benefits of most of the oil based alternatives. We can at least partially blame this price increase result on the Russians. In 2014 Russia embargoed dairy production from the EU, U.S., Australia, and Norway. Many countries responded by decreasing their production of milk just as the popularity of butter increased but not in Ireland, fortunately.

Given that the thinking now is a little bit of butter is much better than all of those substitutes I am including a recipe for a really simple butter cookie.


Sand Tarts

These would be known as Sables in France and variations can be found in almost all cuisines.


Siftt: 250g of caster sugar

Beat: 170g of salted butter (the better the butter, the better the cookie)

Add the sugar gradually. Blend thesis ingredients until very soft and creamy.

Beat In: 1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon of vanilla (pure vanilla gives best flavor)

1teaspoon grated lemon rind

Sift: 330g of plain flour

Resift flour with: 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Add flour gradually into the butter mixture until it is well blended. The mixture will be quite dry by the end. Roll into ball, wrap and chill for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 180c.

Butter or place parchment paper on two baking trays.

Either flour your surface or place parchment paper down. Cut dough ball in half and roll out until thin. Cut into rounds 5cm across.

Brush the top of the cookies with lightly whisked egg white. Sprinkle generously with sugar. (If you want to be fancy multicolored sugars look great). Or you can garnish with slivered almonds.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 8 to 12 minutes. (depending on the thickness of the cookie). Place on cooling rack when done.

Should make approx 50 cookies.

Sand Tarts are the basic butter cookie that can be ‘tarted’ up with nuts, jam, or icing to make colorful treats. Enjoy.
















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