3/4 pound unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
confectioner's sugar for decorating
your favorite jam, preserves, curd, chocolate for filling the cookies
optional: melted white, semi sweet, or dark chocolate for decorating or dipping
Combine the butter, salt, both sugars, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a table top mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. This can also be done with a hand blender and a large mixing bowl.
Beat beginning on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once in between mixing so everything is evenly incorporated.
Add the flour in 2-3 batches mixing on low speed. Beat until a dough begins to form. Some crumbled dough may remain at the bottom of the bowl. This will all come together when the dough is formed into a ball on the counter.
Remove all of the dough from the mixer on a clean work surface (counter) and press it together to form a disk. A ball can be formed first and then press it down with your palm to form the disc.
Lift the disc and sprinkle the work surface with some all purpose flour. Place the dough over it and sprinkle the top with a light dusting of flour along with the rolling pin. This will help the dough roll out easily.
Take care to not put too much flour or this will yield tough cookies.
Roll the dough out to a quarter inch in thickness for thinner cookies or up to half an inch for more hearty cookies.Thinner cookies are ideal when making linzer (sandwich style) cookies.
Cut the cookies out using your favorite cutter. Keep a bowl with some flour nearby incase the cookie cutter becomes sticky.
Place the cut out cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper leaving some room in between for baking.
Combine all the leftover dough together and roll out again.
If making the sandwich cookies, use a smaller cutter to cut out the centers of the cookies after they are placed on the baking sheet. This will keep them from falling apart or breaking.
Chill the cookies in the freezer or refrigerator 15 -30 minutes so that they can retain their beautiful shape while baking.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, 160 degrees Celsius.
Bake the cookies 15- 20 minutes or until they are golden around the edges.
If baking more than one tray at a time, rotate the trays halfway through baking to ensure that both trays bake evenly. Do this by switching the bottom tray to the top and vice versa.
Spread your favorite filling (jam, curd, chocolate, buttercream) over the top of the flat side (bottom) of cookie.
Dust the cookies with the cut out center with powdered sugar.
Place the cut out cookie over the filling.
There are so many variations that can be created with this simple recipe. It is completely up to you!
These cookies can be stored (before filling) in an airtight container at room temperature up to two weeks.
The uncooked cookie dough can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap then placed in a freezer bag and can be stored in the freezer up to two months. Just completely thaw the frozen dough out, roll out and cut into your favorite shapes, then bake.