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Shortbread Hearts
From The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Note: Another Silver Palate favorite, good year-round, but essential on Valentine's Day.

Ingredients:

3/4 pound (3 sticks) sweet butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions:

1. Cream butter and confectioners' sugar together until light.

2. Sift flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla and blend thoroughly.

3. Gather dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper, and chill for 4 to 6 hours.

4. Roll out chilled dough to 5/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-long heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. Place cut-out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and refrigerate for 45 minutes before baking.

5. Preheat over to 325°F (160°C).

6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until just starting to color lightly; cookies should not brown at all. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 20 cookies

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