Homemade cookies for Valentine's Day. The recipe for these cookies is from a Williams- Sonoma Cookbook.
Cut Out Cookies
1 cup (8 oz./ 250 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (6 oz./ 185 g) sugar
3 egg yolks
1 piece vanilla bean, about 2 inches long
2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz/ 390 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, for about 4 minutes.
Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the butter mixture. Mix well. ( Don't use vanilla extract as a substitute for the vanilla bean)
In a sifter, ad the flour, baking powder and salt. Then sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until well mixed.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and then flatten the balls into disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead). Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.
Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees F (180 C). Butter two large baking sheets or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Gather up and reroll the scraps to cut out more cookies. Repeat with remaining dough disks.
Bake until the cookies are golden on the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
**Do-ahead tip: Make the dough and cut out the shapes ahead of time, freeze the shapes, then bake them as you need them. Or bake the cookies and freeze to decorate another day.