Not So Basic Butter Cookies

from Gourmet December 2003

makes 2 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on size, shape and if you fill them into sandwiches

Unlike most of the recipes here, which are developed or adapted in my own test kitchen, I prepared this one straight from Gourmet's directions, with the minor addition of an extra 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. That was the purpose of Gourmet, Unbound—to honor the work of the talented staff that created one of the best food magazines to have ever been published.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

jam, for filling (optional)

chocolate, for dipping or drizzling (optional)

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until creamy and well-incorporated. With the mixer turned off, pour in the flour. Turn the mixer onto low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium-high as the flour begins to mix in.

Once the flour is completely mixed in, increase speed to high and beat for 15 seconds. Roll into logs according to the size and shape you want to bake, and wrap them in plastic wrap, or transfer dough to a bowl, cover and chill until firm but still workable, about 4 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (do not use silicon liners). Slice cookies, or roll into balls and press an indent with your thumb; place on prepared trays. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely, before filling, dipping or dusting.