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SHORTBREAD CUT-OUT COOKIES 
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
colored sugars

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, gradually beat in flour only until blended.

Divide dough into two portions. Shape each into a 1 inch thick disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator for 20-30 minutes before rolling or dough will be too crumbly to roll well.

Preheat oven to 325F.

On a work surface dusted lightly with flour and with a floured rolling pin, roll out one disk of the chilled dough at a time to a thickness of 3/8-inch.

If dough has a tendency to stick, try using a silicone baking mat or roll out between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several more hours. Refrigeration improves rollability.

If dough is too crumbly, sprinkle lightly with water and let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.

Cut out shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutters. Dip cutters in flour before each cut.

Arrange cut cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined or ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugars, if desired, or cookies may also be decorated with Royal Icing after baking.

Bake for 11-13 minutes until firm but not browned. Cookies should be very light in color and only lightly golden around bottom edges.

Remove from oven, immediately prick cookies decoratively with a wooden toothpick to form designs.

Cool on a wire rack. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week; freeze for best freshness in longer storage.

Makes about 60 2 inch cookies.

Submitted by: CM
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