We are in Brazil on vacation, because my mom's entire family is here. We come every year, so we've made friends and though we stay at my grandma's house, we see them every time we come. Today I went to a friend's house because she had said that she had a great cookie recipe she wanted to teach me to make, because I had taught her to make cupcakes when she had visited me. This recipe is really good. We cut out the cookies really thick, but you can cut them however thin or thick you want, just adjust the cooking time. You can decorate them however you like, but we left ours plain and they were great anyways. This dough is different from most cut-out cookies, too, because it only rests for 20 minutes outside of the fridge, instead of 2 hours inside the fridge. It's an easy recipe if you have a mixer (this friend doesn't, so we did it by hand, but it should work with a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), and very tasty.
Buttery Cut-Out Cookies (from some magazine in Portuguese I don't know the name of)
8 oz. margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1 pinch salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
tiny bit of milk (about 2 tablespoons? my friend says "two fingers" :D )
Beat margarine, sugar, egg, egg yolk, vanilla and salt until fluffy.
Add the flour and beat until dough comes together. Mix baking powder with the milk (it will puff up) and beat that into the dough until you can no longer see the white mixture.
Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes (it will not rise).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Roll out dough to desired thickness, working with small amounts. As you roll, you will see that cracks are going to appear all over. This is fine; just press the dough together and keep rolling. Cut with whatever cookie cutters you want and place on greased and floured cookie sheets (it doesn't matter if small and large shapes are on the same cookie sheet; they will be done at the same time).
Bake for about 2o minutes. This is an estimate, but it will depend on the thickness of your dough (we rolled ours really thick and it took about 30 minutes). Check on the cookies frequently. You can let them brown as little or as much as you want.
Yields: about 70 small cookies (more or less depending on the size of your cookie cutter).