Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and creamy:
3/4 pound unsalted butter, softened & 1/4 teaspoon salt
Beat until very fluffy and well blended:
2/3 cup powdered sugar & 1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons brandy & 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
And then gradually add and stir until well blended and smooth:
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup Ground Almonds (optional)
1. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm enough to shape into balls, about 1 hour.
2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease cookie sheets.
3. Pull off pieces of the dough and roll between your palms into generous 1-inch balls. Space about 1 inch apart on the sheets.
4. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are faintly tinged with brown, 14-18 minutes; rotate the sheet halfway through baking for even browning. Remove the sheet to a rack and let stand until the cookies firm slightly. Gently transfer to racks to cool completely.
5. Sift over the cookies until evenly coated: 1/3 cup powdered sugar.
6. If desired, 1 cup ground almonds may be added to this recipe. If you do add the ground almonds, stir in after you have added the vanilla or almond extract, then continue with recipe.
Makes about 4 dozen (1 1/4 inch) cookies.
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