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Makes about 45 2 1/2-inch cookies
James Carrier

How to Make It

Step 1

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Stir or beat in flour until well blended.

Step 2

Divide dough in half. Flatten each portion into a 1-inch-thick disk. On a lightly floured board, with a floured rolling pin, roll dough, a portion at a time, to 1/8 inch thick.

Step 3

With floured cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes (if dough is too soft to handle, freeze briefly until firm).

Step 4

With a wide spatula or your fingers, transfer cookies to buttered or cooking parchment-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather scraps, pat into a ball, and repeat rolling and cutting.

Step 5

Bake cookies in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes; switch pan positions halfway through baking.

Step 6

With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. If hot cookies start to break, slide a thin spatula under them to release; let stand on sheets to firm up, about 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Step 7

Powdered sugar icing. Controlling consistency of icing is simple. If it's too thick, add a few drops of water; if it's too thin, gradually add more powdered sugar. To tint, add food coloring a few drops at a time.

Step 8

For spreading: In a bowl, stir 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Tint with food coloring as desired. Spread icing onto cool cookies with a metal spatula. Let stand until icing is firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Makes about 1 cup, enough to coat 1 recipe of Favorite Cutout Cookies.

Step 9

For piping: In a bowl, stir 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water until smooth. Tint with food coloring as desired. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch tip or a heavy 1-quart zip-lock plastic bag. Seal plastic bag and squeeze icing into a corner; cut a tiny opening at corner of bag to squeeze icing out. Let cookies stand until icing is firm, about 5 minutes. Makes about 3/4 cup, enough for 1 recipe Favorite Cutout Cookies.

Step 10

Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

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