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Virginia Willis' Danish Butter Cookies

Serves: Makes 2 to 3 dozen
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1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 large egg white, beaten with 2 teaspoons of water (optional)
Sanding sugars, dragées, or sprinkles (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla, followed by the flour and salt. Mix thoroughly to combine. The dough should be very soft and pliable.

Fill a cookie press with the dough, and turn out cookies 1 to 2 inches apart onto either an unlined baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (see note).

If pressing the dough is too difficult, it is not soft enough. If that is the case, use your hands to work the dough, a little at a time, until it is very soft and pliable. Sprinkle the cookies with colored sanding sugars or decorate with dragées or sprinkles.

Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate the sheet halfway through the baking process. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Photo: Virginia Willis

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