1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. lemon or orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, lemon/orange zest, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log (round or square) that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours or overnight). I usually put mine in the freezer for a couple of hours to speed things up. Once the log is firm, slice off cookies about 1/4 inch thick with a sharp knife. You can store the logs in the freezer for up to two months and then make cookies on demand by removing log from freezer and slicing off as many cookies as you want to bake. I have also tried to roll these cookies out and use cookie cutters to make shaped cookies. It's definitely not as easy as rolling the dough into a log and cutting it, but if you use a really well-floured surface, keep the dough chilled at all times, and have some patience then it will work! You could also try molding the dough log into the shape you want.
When you are ready to bake your cut cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Note: Use parchment paper rather than non-stick cooking spray on your baking sheet for these cookies - it really does work better and give you a softer cookie!). Place the cookies on the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. These cookies are flavorful enough to be left un-iced, but you could dye the dough with food color or cover the tops with sprinkles or granulated sugar before baking if you wanted to add a more decorative touch.
*Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking