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Basic Butter Almond Cookies

Makes 8 to 10 dozen pressed cookies, depending on size

12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 extra large egg, cracked into a small bowl
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons milk (whole, 2 percent or 1 percent)
4 cups pre-sifted flour
1 slightly heaping teaspoon baking powder
Colored sugars or jimmies, optional
Chocolate Dip, optional 

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (325, if using convection heat).

2. Measure and assemble all ingredients before you begin.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or an electric
mixer at the lowest speed. Add the egg, the vanilla and almond extracts and milk.
Blend well.

4. Mix the flour and baking powder; add to the butter base slowly, mixing only
until a soft dough forms. Do not over-mix.

5. Fit desired disk in the cookie press. By hand, roll pieces of dough in a tube
shape to fit into the press. Press dough onto ungreased baking sheets or
heavy-bottomed pizza pans. Cookies can be closely spaced because they will
not spread.

6. Sprinkle colored sugar or jimmies on the unbaked dough or leave cookies
plain if they will be dipped in chocolate later.

7. Bake cookies at the middle two levels of oven. Do not use the lowest level.
Bake two sheets at a time, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove before the cookie edges
start to brown.

8. Loosen cookies gently with a spatula. Let them cool on the pans in a cool
place, near an open window or outdoors, for about 5 minutes to cool quickly.

9. Use a spatula to move the cookies to a platter. Wipe the cooled pans with
a dry paper towel before pressing more dough onto them. Cool cookies
thoroughly (or make them a day ahead) before dipping them in chocolate.
Store in tins with wax paper or parchment between each layer.

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