My mom made these so perfectly, but I’ve had them dull or too hard or too crumbly. They require a light hand, mainly. This v. old Betty Crocker recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp almond extract. That’s all. Mix, shape, chill half an hour, bake at 300º for about half an hour.
First I double and slightly change the recipe; increasing flavoring and decreasing flour. I use four bowls and into each one I put a stick of softened butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp almond extract. It’s easier to do this than to divide the dough after adding the flour.
Then I color it before adding the flour. That’s tip #2. Tip #3 which my mom didn’t do because it would have been very pricey back then, is to use gel colors.
Then I add 1 1/8 cups of flour to each bowl, and stir just until it will all stick together. It does not look as weird as this photo. I don't have an explanation for this.
The caveat: I usually use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour for most cookies. But today I bought an organic variety, and it is darker. So two of the bowls got a darker flour which changed the color considerably. I’ll have to rethink how I shape the cookies, and then I’ll probably roll them in colored sugar, which I dyed myself because it’s easy and cheap and you can do whichever colors you like.
So why am I showing you dough and no cookies? I'll be honest here. I got the cramps. The dough will keep til morning.