Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together into a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Let dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Generously flour a large sheet of parchment. Roll out dough on parchment to a scant 1/4-inch thickness, running an offset spatula under dough and dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Transfer dough on parchment to freezer, and chill 15 minutes.
Using a 2- to 3-inch X- or O-shaped cookie cutter, quickly cut out shapes from dough. (If dough begins to soften, return to freezer for 3 to 5 minutes.) Reroll scraps once and cut out more shapes.
Transfer shapes to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Freeze 15 minutes. Sprinkle shapes with sanding sugar. Bake until edges are just golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.