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2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift together the flour and salt onto a sheet of wax paper. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed for 2 minutes. On medium speed, gradually add sugar, beating for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice (turn mixer off first).
Add egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down bowl and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Cooks Note: Depending upon the humidity where the flour has been stored, more or less flour may be needed to produce a dough that is easy to roll out. A little more flour may be added, as needed, but try to use as little as possible, since adding more flour makes for a less delicate cookie.
Turn dough out onto a clean surface which has been lightly dusted with flour. Divide into two portions. Shape each half into a ball, then flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
To make the dough easier to roll out, store in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or for as long as 2 days. Before using, remove from refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Lightly dust a work surface (or silicone sheet) with flour. Roll dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch.
Preheat an oven to 350░F.
Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Select cookie cutters in desired shapes and dip into flour. Cut shapes and transfer to cookie sheets. Gather up scraps and re-roll.
Refrigerate the cookies until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
Bake until golden brown around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Cool the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies directly onto the racks and let cool completely.
Decorate as desired and allow icing to dry before storing in an airtight container.
Makes about 50 cookies, depending upon size.
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