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French Butter Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen
Since these sublime cookies rely on butter for much of their flavor, use the best quality creamery butter you can find. For decorative effect, pierce the top of each cookie to resemble buttonholes and sprinkle them with raw turbinado sugar before baking. The dough can be made a day or two in advance and can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup turbinado (unrefined) or granulated sugar

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and light-brown sugar; beat on high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add flour and salt, and mix on low speed until flour is incorporated.

2. Roll dough into three 1 1/2-inch-diameter logs. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

3. Heat oven to 350°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Roll cookie log in sugar, coating it evenly, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Place cookies on baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Using a cake tester or toothpick, make four decorative holes in each cookie. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool completely on wire racks.

Photograph by: Todd Atkinson

use colored sugars – green and red – for christmas cookies

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