Pill Bottle Cookies

A Very Merry Christmas to all my readers!  For two days I am planning on doing absolutely, 100% NADA!  It’s going to be amazing, and it’s going to go super fast too, which is too bad.  Good news about being at 12,000 feet is that it’s nice and cold and gives the atmosphere, at least, that it’s Christmas!

It felt good to sleep in as late as I did today (only 10 am), and now I’m sitting on the couch with my buddy Thomas as he plays with his NEW ARMY MEN!  Woooo!  He’s 4.  And he’s wearing a Spiderman Costume.  It’s perfect.

Yesterday, my day was spent under insurmountable stress.  Now, I wasn’t making the whole dinner, but I was making cookies, buns for dinner, and puff pastry (by scratch mind you) and also had to wrap presents and finish making the stockings!  I had the help of a faithful friend, Leon, who thank-goodness toughed out my Monica-like controlling behavior in the kitchen.  If you’ve watched Friends, you know what I mean.

One of my greatest Christmas gifts was that everything came out of the oven looking just as it should!  Nothing fell flat, nothing tasted odd, nothing was short of perfect!

These are my all-time favorite Christmas cookie.  They came to be known my my mouth by my sister’s sister-in-law.  Every year my sister hosts a Christmas Cookie Exchange and these were in said exchange.  So, when I got my hands on the name of these babies I was exstatic.  However, the recipe was not that easy to find online by the name.  I hope that people looking for these can find them easier via… here!

Pill Bottle Cookies

1 cup
butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar (for decoration)

1/4 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 yolk

Put the flour in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter.  It can be pretty coarsely cut, it doesn’t have to be extremely fine.  Then, mix in the heavy cream.  It’s so very little for the amount of dry ingredients that there is, or so it appears, but the butter will tie everything together, and you’ll be very surprised.

Put the dough in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F as you pull the dough out of the fridge from it’s hour chilling time.  Lightly flour your countertop and roll your dough out to 1/8″ thickness.  Cut into 1 1/2″ rounds or… whatever size you want really!  I used an honest-to-goodness old pill bottle to cut out the rounds.

Put the granulated sugar into bowl or on a plate and coat the rounds on each size so they are covered in sugar.  I had to use a little bit of water on my finger to wet each round on each side to make sure the sugar would stick.  Then, place on a cookie sheet.  You can put them relatively close together, because they won’t spread out.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until slightly puffed.  Let cool and then remove from the cookie sheet.  Once fully cool, make sandwiches with the filling.

Filling Instructions
Put the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together with the butter.  Then add the yolk and vanilla.  You can add food coloring if you like!

Update: Yes, this recipe calls for raw egg yolk. Yes, there is risk of salmonella consuming raw egg. Yes, I personally take the risk every time because this frosting is worth dying for. But, in all seriousness, if using raw egg makes you take pause, you have a few options. You can either buy eggs that specifically say they are pasteurized, you can pasteurize your own eggs, or you can sub out the yolk for 1-1.5 tbsp heavy cream.  

That’s it!  I know it’s a little late for you to make these for your annual Cookie Exchange but, maybe you can make them for New Years.  They are so delicious you will not regret it.  How are you passing your Christmas?  And what are you doing for New Years?


50 thoughts on “Pill Bottle Cookies

  1. Oooo…these cookies look so pretty and sparkly – almost like christmas lights! 😉 They look super yummy too. Hope you have the most magical, merry, wonderful Christmas!

    • Thanks Tia! You should give ’em a try! Here in Peru it’s custom to make everything the color yellow as we enter the new year, so make ’em yellow and call ’em New Year Pill Bottle Cookies! 🙂

  2. These look adorable. I make them , calling thm Swedish wafer cookies, for Christmas and Easter (pastel food coloring) everyone loves them. I use a one inch round cookie cutter.

  3. I got so excitied when I saw these – a friend made them long ago and wouldn’t give me the recipe. They were exquisite for afternoon tea, but I never could figure out the recipe thru trial and error. Thanks!

    • What a little stinker! Ha! There’s only one recipe that I hold ransom and that’s only because my mom told me to, it’s a family secret recipe. I just like how it sounds, so that’s why I keep it.

      I’m glad that you can finally make these! They are so good, and shouldn’t be limited to only Christmas, but any occasion that deserves time sacrificed to make them!

  4. Did I miss something in this recipe? You’re telling people to use a raw egg yolk? I thought using raw eggs was a total no-no.

    • Hey Gretchen! I know, it doesn’t seem right, does it? The danger with raw egg, from what I’ve researched, isn’t from the actual raw egg, rather the salmonella is found on the egg shell. You just have to be careful about touching the egg and then the food etc., If you saw the eggs in Peru, where I made these cookies, you would maybe think twice about using the raw egg in the recipe because the eggs are DIRTY! However, in the US they are pretty clean. Also, it is VERY important to note that you will want to refrigerate these cookies to store them, because they have the raw egg in the cream. I have had no problem with eating these little guys, they are fantastically delicious!

      • Thanks for the reply. I think I will do them without the yolk, too many people I know would have a fit about the raw egg even with your explanation. Will let you know what happens.

    • While it is true that the majority of salmonella associated with eggs is found on the shell, there is a chance that it could have entered the yolk (from an infected chicken) before the shell formed. Agricultural regulations and inspections in the US reduce the probability of that happening, however the possibility does still exist. Therefore, it is recommended not to use raw unpasteurized egg products. I personally love cream cheese frosting and would use a dab of that instead of the butter and egg mixture.

  5. These look delish! Let’s say I used a pill bottle to cut te small cookie rounds, about how many little cookie sandwiches do you think approx from one batch? Trying to make these to impress co workers! 😉

    • You know, I can’t remember an exact number but it makes a TON of little guys when you use a pill bottle. The recipe typically says not to reuse the dough because the more you handle it the less flakey it becomes, just be careful not to over do remixing the dough for a second use. I’d say, though, you should get at least three dozen little cookies out of this recipe!

  6. These cookies freeze beautifully. I served them at my wedding reception, so I had to make several batches. These cookies are a family tradition. We can’t have a baby or bridal shower without them. We call them cream wafers. Why do you call them pill bottle cookies?

    • These cookies have tons of names. Shot glass cookies is another, actually. Both names pill bottle and shot glass cookies come from what is used to cut the cookies into their perfectly small round shapes. 🙂

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    • Hi Linda! If you have a concern about using raw eggs apparently you can use cream cheese frosting as Tracy in the comments has mentioned. I personally take the risk because this frosting is just so good. You DO have to make sure you keep these refrigerated because of the egg though.

      • These are actually called Creme Wafers. The recipe was an in an old Betty Crocker cook book, I think. As well as another favorite of mine called “Peanut Sitting Pretties”. I have loved and eaten these since I was a wee one, I’m 38 now. We never refrigerated our cookies but stored them in a cool place. Never once got sick either lol. They do not taste the same without the egg yolk. Both cookies are a pain to make, but are sooo good you need multiple batches! 🙂

      • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. 😛 These have also been called shot glass cookies, and that’s how I first came to know them. But, being a missionary with the Nazarene Church when I wrote this blog I thought it’d be a bad idea to test the “spirits.” (Get it? Spirits… Alcohol! Lol) I’ve also seen these called Creme Wafers. Thanks for the input on the eggs! I also have never had any issues. Just bless ’em with a little prayer and you’re good to go! Lol!

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    • I honestly don’t know but doubt it! You might just need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before starting to work with it. 🙂 it won’t mess up the cookie, maybe just make it harder to work with. 🙂

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  19. Hey! I was almost shocked to see this recipe on your site. I’ve never seen it anywhere else but in my families kitchens. It is something that goes back at least 4 generations maybe more in our family. It is a Norwegian recipe. Everyone knew what it was called but didn’t know how to spell it so we have always written it phonetically which is Parasiferwafers. Para meaning 2, sifer – don’t know and then wafer.
    Up until my grandmother the cookie cutter was a thimble. She didn’t use the tiny one she used for sewing but had a larger one. The thimble was passed down through the generations but when my grandmother passed away we couldn’t find it anywhere, bummer! My cutter is one of those plastic mouth pieces from an inhaler. We have always made them very thin like grandmother and my mom, when you do you will get at least, if not more 300 wafers which is 150 cookies. My brother makes them thicker like the ones shown here. I like the thinner ones because they are crunchy, my brother’s are more chewy. They are tiny and very yummy. Mine are not quite the size of a nickel.
    I saw one question about how long to leave the dough in the fridge. I make mine, flatten it into a disc, score into fourths, wrap well in plastic, refrigerate it and use it the next day or two. Why? Because that’s what Grandmother said her mother did. It takes a lot of time to make all this so sometimes I make them over two or three days. I do this especially if I’m giving them out over say a week or two.
    Remove 1/4 of the dough at a time, let it sit a few minutes to soften a bit, roll it out, cut one on top of the other leaving very little waste, then pick up and toss into the sugar. I’ve never have had to moisten the wafer to make the sugar stick. I put about 30 or so in the sugar plate then flip flop them and onto the cookie sheet. These can touch because they don’t grow width wise. We dock them, which is using a fork and poking holes in them to keep them from making a bubble ( saltine have holes for the same reason ). We also reuse the dough one time and then it’s tossed. By then the butter is too melted into the flour and you don’t get quite the same results. With my kids I would roll it out for them to cut into stripa, put them in sugar and bake them, now it’s with my grandkids and in just a couple of years great-grandkids, Lord willing.
    No one in our family has ever got sick from the raw egg yolk, nor has anyone I’ve shared them with. Over the generations the eggs were farm fresh and I used farm eggs up to about 25 years ago when no one in the family farmed anymore and then used store bought. But I take great precautions with those outside of the family who are not familiar with them and I always tell about the raw yolk and letting them make a decision. Because of the raw yolk they need to be consumed within 2-3-4 days of making them and be sure they are kept in the fridge until just before eating, they are not something you want to leave out for hours.
    If there is leftover filling put it in the fridge and use it the next day or two then throw it away and make new the next time you need some. One recipe of filling is never enough for me to get through the cookies, I always have to make more, I like to be generous with the filling. My grandmother put just enough to stick them together.
    To speed up the sandwiching process I lay out a towel (keeps the wafers from sliding around) and put face down enough wafers to fill the towel in one row. Above these I put a mate face up. The filling goes into a baggie with the corner nipped out and I just go down the line and squeeze out the desired amount of filling. I pick up it’s mate, put it lightly on top of the other and while still holding onto it it goes into a sealable plastic bowl. Grandmother used a knife – it took forever! You can stack these on top of each other and even if they topple and look messy it’s ok because after the butter is hard again you can separate and rearrange them. For yummiest results use real vanilla extract the results are not the same with imitation.
    Someone said that her friend wouldn’t give her the recipe. We were told by grandmother than it is not to be shared. If someone wants it then were to make wafers for them each year. Usually once someone finds out how time consuming they are they are fine with not making them.
    I know I’ve said a lot here. I’m sorry if it is too long, it’s like talking once I’m going I have a lot to say.
    i hope others can glean from this info from many generations of Parasiferwafer makers.
    I was trying to figure out how this recipe got to Peru and my only guess would be that before, during and after the second world war hundreds of thousands relocated to South America and at least one of them brought the recipe with them. When the pill bottle came into it I have no clue.
    Happy Baking!

    • Wow Katherine! Lots of input for sure. Thank you for sharing the family history! I am an American and was living in Peru when I made these. I actually brought the recipe to Peru. My sister’s sister-in-law always made these for a Christmas Cookie exchange and I got the recipe from her and found out she called them Pill Bottle Cookies. I had the hardest time finding out what these things were called on the internet and am super excited to find that they have a more exotic background being Norweigan! Thank you for all your suggestions on making them authentic Parasiferwafers!

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