Your New Favorite Vanilla Roll-Out Cookie

Photo by Ashley RodriguezPhoto by Ashley RodriguezBy Bon Appétit

Somewhere down the line, "vanilla" became a synonym for "boring." Which is an unfair rap because, one, it comes from some of the most exotic places in the world, and two, it tastes so damn good.No

So when you bring out a tray of these festively decorated vanilla roll-out cookies, you could wear a pith helmet and jodhpurs... or you just watch everyone's faces as they vow never to equate "vanilla" with "boring" again.

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Vanilla Roll-Out Cookies
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 40 small or 15 large cookies

For a lemony twist, reduce the vanilla extract to 3/4 teaspoon and add 1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
Sprinkles or other sugar decorations (optional)
Royal Icing (optional)

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and salt and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla. Add flour and beat on low speed just to blend. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to 1/8-inch thickness for smaller (2-inch) cookies and 1/4-inch thickness for larger (3- to 4-inch) cookies. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. If cookies become too soft to transfer to baking sheets, place in freezer on waxed paper for 5 minutes before continuing. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more cookies, repeating until all dough is used. If not icing cookies, decorate with sprinkles or other sugar toppings, if desired.

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Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and golden around edges, about 10 minutes for smaller cookies and up to 14 minutes for larger cookies. Cool completely on rack. Decorate with Royal Icing, then sprinkles or other sugar toppings, if desired. Let stand until icing sets. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 days ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight containers.

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