With just 4 ingredients, plus decorations, this quick & easy recipe can have you munching on warm cookies in next to no time at all. The longest part is waiting for the butter to get to room temperature!
It's so easy to customize this recipe to suit your family's tastes. The photo shows some ways my favorite 10 year old sous chef & I decorated one batch. =^..^=
Set the butter or margarine in a medium mixing bowl and allow to soften. (Truth--after about 15 minutes, I use the mixer to start breaking it up a little. Then I wait a few more minutes to give it more time to soften.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using the mixer, mix together the softened butter/margarine, sugar, and vanilla extract.
NOTE: If you are going to be adding more sugar in the form of cinnamon/sugar or plain sugar or colored sugars, you might want to cut the sugar in this step down to 2/3 cup. Your call.
Slowly add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
If the dough isn't too sticky (or if you're impatient), roll into large marble-sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
If you don't like the sticky feel of the dough, or if you have more time, cover the bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to roll the dough balls.
TIME FOR THE OPTIONS: If you want a Snickerdoodle-type cookie, roll some of the dough balls into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. For the walnut or cherry cookies, I rolled the balls in white sugar before pressing on the walnut or cherry halves. I made a thumbprint in the cookie dough before adding any of the jams. (Today I used strawberry & blueberry preserves.) Other ideas? Chop nuts into fine pieces & roll dough ball in them. Flatten the dough ball a little, if you like. Or crush peppermint candy canes to use in the same way or sprinkle some on slightly flattened dough balls. What ideas do you have?
Bake cookies at 350 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes. (Check early the first time.) Cookies should be mostly light with slightly browned bottoms. Cool on cooling racks, if you can wait that long. =^..^=
FINAL OPTION: Drizzle cooled cookies with a glaze made of 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. milk, if desired. Stir together, then spoon into a sandwich baggie, seal, & snip a tiny corner from the baggie for easy decorating. Mom would call this "gilding the lily."