Special equipment: a 3-inch heart-shaped cutter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cutter. Place the hearts on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
If the dough is too crumbly and doesn't hold together, add 1 tablespoon of water to the mixture and combine. For taping, Ina placed the cut out cookie dough hearts on parchment paper before baking. For taping, Ina drizzled each cookie with Vanilla Glaze (see below) and allowed the glaze to dry for 1 hour.
"The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" by Ina Garten © Clarkson Potter 1999. Provided courtesy of Ina Garten. All rights reserved.