- Stir 5 cups flour with baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar on medium-high for 2 min. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture just until evenly blended.
- If dough is too sticky to form into a ball, stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tbsp at a time, until dough is easy to roll. Divide into 4 portions. Shape each into a ball, flattening slightly into a disc. Wrap separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to a week.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough no thicker than 1/4-in. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Place on baking sheets, about 2 in. apart. Bake in centre of oven until cookies are pale golden, 8 to 10 min, depending on thickness. Place cookie sheet on a rack for 5 min. Remove cookies to wire rack, and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
Make-ahead tips: Wrap the prepared dough with plastic wrap, then heavy foil to freeze for up to a month. For baked cookies, keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.
Pistachio-ginger: Prepare and roll out dough. Cut into shapes. Sprinkle half with a mixture of 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios and 3 tbsp finely chopped candied ginger. Bake as in main recipe. On day of serving, spread Nutella over plain cookies and top with pistachio-ginger cookies. Makes 48.
Vanilla bean: Place a vanilla bean on a cutting board. Run knife tip along bean, slitting it end to end. Scrape out seeds and add them to butter mixture with vanilla. Prepare and bake dough as in main recipe. Makes 96.
Chatelaine Cookies: Sugar cookies