1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until well blended. Add egg, baking powder, salt and vanilla to mixture and beat until well combined. Stir in the flour and beat until well blended and smooth. Divide the dough in half and place each half between 2 large sheets of wax paper. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Keeping the paper in place, put the dough on a baking sheet or tray and refrigerate until cold and slightly firm but not hard, about 20 - 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 350F. Grease cookie sheets. Gently peel away the wax paper. Cut out the cookies using 2 - 3 inch cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer them to the cookie sheets spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake just until the cookies are lightly colored on top, about 6 to 9 minutes. Rotate the sheet halfway through the baking for even browning. Remove the sheet and let stand until the cookies firm slightly. Cool and decorate.
Yield: 24 to 36 Cookies (depending on size)