1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts until blended.
2. Stir together flour and next 2 ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
3. Divide dough in half; flatten each into a disk. Roll each disk to 1/4-inch thickness between 2 sheets of wax paper. Transfer dough, in wax paper, to a baking sheet; chill 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350°. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, remove top wax paper; cut into 2 1/2- x 3/4-inch rectangles, rerolling dough scraps once. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
5. Bake at 350° for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely. Store in airtight containers.
Bourbon-Pecan Snowflakes Prepare recipe through Step 2, omitting almond extract, adding 1 cup chopped toasted pecans and 4 Tbsp. bourbon with vanilla in Step 1, and increasing flour to 2 1/2 cups. Proceed as directed, cutting dough with a 3-inch snowflake-shaped cutter and increasing bake time to 14 to 16 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 dozen
Key Lime Stars Prepare recipe through Step 2, omitting vanilla and almond extracts, adding 1 Tbsp. Key lime zest and 2 Tbsp. Key lime juice after sugar in Step 1, and increasing flour to 2 1/4 cups. Stir together 2 Tbsp. white sanding sugar and 1 Tbsp. lime zest. Proceed as directed through Step 4, cutting with a 2-inch star-shaped cutter. Sprinkle cookies with sugar mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Bake and cool as directed, increasing baking time to 14 to 16 minutes or until tips of stars just begin to brown. Makes about 4 dozen.
Cinnamon-Orange Squares Prepare recipe through Step 2, omitting vanilla and almond extracts, increasing flour to 2 1/4 cups, and adding 2 Tbsp. orange zest, 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg to flour mixture in Step 2. Proceed as directed through Step 4, cutting with a 2-inch square cutter. Stir together 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and sprinkle mixture over cookies. Bake and cool as directed. Makes 3 dozen.
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