Easy to handle, and adaptable to all sorts of handling and additions (miniature chocolate chips, different extracts, finely ground nuts, spices, etc.) this is another 'little black dress' of cookie recipes to have around. If you want a really sandy texture, use a small proportion of shortening to replace the butter.This does double duty as an Xmas or Hanukah cut out cookie.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 teapoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon half-and-half or light cream
3/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
Sprinkles, plain or coarse sugar, coloured sugars, egg wash, etc.
If using food colouring, add it into the dough just before dough is in final mix stage
In a mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar until well-blended. Add in the egg, vanilla, and half-and-half. Fold in the salt, baking powder and all-purpose flour and blend to make a stiff dough. Let stand 5 minutes and then gather up and wrap well, and then refrigerate about an hour (can be frozen or refrigerated up to 3 days, well wrapped)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Stack two large baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper.
Divide dough in half. Roll each half out on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes.
Place cookies on baking sheet. Bake until nicely browned around the edgse, about 14-17 minutes. Cool well on a rack.
For decorating before: glaze with egg wash or cream, and dust on sugar or sprinkles etc.
For decorating after, use a royal icing to make decorations stick.
Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size
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