- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups (or 3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Coarse Pink Decorating Sugar, optional
Sift together the flour and salt into a large bowl.
Put the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed until fluffy and light, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla, and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add the flour and salt mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together and is smooth. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Cut the dough into quarters, and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (9 by 13-inch) sheet trays with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it soften slightly. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll out 1 of the dough quarters, (keeping the others refrigerated until you need them), on a lightly floured work surface, to a 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the cookies into the desired shapes, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to 1 of the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookies with decorating sugar, if desired.
Repeat with remaining dough, and bake the cookies until they are light brown around the edges and on the bottom, about 8 to 12 minutes. Cool briefly on the pan, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cook's Notes: You can cut these cookies into any shapes you choose, but in our house we choose to cut them into the shape of a pig (pig cutters can be found online or in specialty baking stores).