1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks
2 tseaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Ecorator’s or sanding sugar, dragées and other edible décor, for decorating
Using electric beater or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar. Starting on low speed, work in the sugar, and then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about two minutes.
Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Add the flour and salt and beat just until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic and chill for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface knead one disc of dough a little to soften it and then roll it out to just under quarter-inch (half a centimetre) thick.
Use a two- or three-inch cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 mins until slightly golden at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Prepare the royal icing for flooding or piping. Decorate the cookies as you wish, sprinkling with decorator’s or sanding sugar or adding dragées or other edible décor. Allow four to six hours for the icing to dry.