(makes approximately 2 dozen per recipe)
You can accompany these with royal icing, or simply sprinkle them with granulated sugar, which make them sweet, sparkly and slightly crunchy.
-2 sticks unsalted butter
-Pinch of salt
-3/4 cup powdered sugar
-2 1/4 cups AP flour
1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2) Prepare sheet pans with silpats or parchment paper.
3) In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and salt, and whip until creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks and mix to combine. Add the flour until just barely combined (over mixing will make them tough).
4) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm and chilled enough that you are able to handle it.
5) I recommend rolling the dough out with powdered sugar, not flour. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter and gently lay them on the silpat covered sheet pans. If you are going to sprinkle them with sugar, do it now.
6) Bake for 8-12 minutes. (It really depends on your oven). They should remain very pale, and should NOT turn golden brown. If they start to color on the edges, remove them immediately.
7) You should be looking for them to just be firm to the touch. They will continue to firm up a little bit as they cool. I would leave the cookies on the sheet pan to cool, (at least a little bit). This will make them less prone to breaking.
8) If you are going to add royal icing, wait until the cookies are completely cooled to decorate.
Royal Icing (makes 2 cups)
-3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
-2 large egg whites
-1 tsp vanilla or almond extract or lemon juice
-assorted food coloring (optional)
1) Using an electric mixer, combine the powdered sugar, flavoring and egg whites together until thick, smooth and shiny. If the icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar by the spoonful until it reaches your desired consistency.
2) If you want to add food coloring, divide the icing into small bowls, and add the desired color.
3) It is best to use the icing immediately, or keep it covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a crusty skin. You can spread the icing or pipe in on to the cookies.