History of the Chicago Butter Cookie

Ask any Chicagoan who attended a Chicago Public School in the 60s through 80s what they remember most fondly about there school days, and you will likely hear the same thing over and over. The CPS Butter Cookies!


Sold in the Lunchrooms across the city, they were the highlight of the school day, so much so, many kids would use what little money they had to prioritize buying them over the actual lunch.


Unfortunately, these sweets were removed from all schools with a push towards providing children with only nutritious options. With this change, they started being sold around the city in gas stations, and Signature Chicago fried chicken restaurants like Harold’s Chicken.


But what is a Butter Cookie? A Butter Cookie is a Deliciously simple Shortbread style cookie originally consisting of 4 ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Butter, and Vanilla. The perfect butter cookie should be crisp, but not hard, light in texture and dissolve easily in the mouth.


If it’s so simple, what makes them so special to Chicago? One reason is that for decades the cookies have been made with Butter sourced from Wisconsin, renowned for their premium dairy industry.


In Addition, while simple on the surface, these Cookies are deceptively difficult to make, taking a great attention to detail to achieve the best texture.


Lunch ladies across the city became masters at the preparation from making batch after batch each week for the hungry school children. They made them with Love, and enjoyed bringing a smile to the faces of the kids they served.


We aim to honor those Beloved Lunch ladies’s attention to detail and the love they baked into each batch, but with using higher quality ingredients than what was available to them. Unlike many do today, we still use 100% local sources Butter and real Vanilla Extract, for a nostalgic yet grown up flavor that will make anyone, Native Chicagoan or Otherwise, an instant fan!

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