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Basic Cookie Dough

This dough is very child-friendly  -- it comes together quickly and stands up to a lot of handling. Turn it into cut, rolled, and decorated cookies, for giving or for enjoying at home. You can double or triple this recipe and freeze a batch or two for later.

Prep time: 15 Minutes
Chilling time: 1 Hour or Overnight
Baking time: About 10 Minutes
Yield: 36 Cookies

Ingredients:
* 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 3/4 tsp salt
* Nonstick cooking spray

1. In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer for 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla extract.

2. Measure flour into large sifter set over dinner plate. Add baking soda and salt. Sift flour mixture into egg-butter mixture; beat on medium speed until smooth. If dough is sticky, beat in a few more tablespoons of flour.

3. Remove dough from bowl, form into 3 balls, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. (Dough may also be frozen.)

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the dough on work surface for 5 to 10 minutes or until pliable, or knead it 4 or 5 times to soften. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Roll out dough to about 1 1/28 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a table knife or 3-inch cookie cutter. Reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies.

6. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart; bake for 10 minutes or until bottoms start to brown and tops are firm. Remove with a spatula to a wire rack. Let cool about 15 minutes.

How kids can help:
* Unwrap butter and place in bowl.
* Measure sugar and flour.
* Form dough into balls.
* Roll dough.
* Cut out cookies.

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