1 1/2 cups sugar 2/3 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon salt (if butter is unsalted) 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 1/4 cups flour Early in the day or the day before: In a large bowl cream the shortening and the sugar. Add the eggs & extract. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl. Mix until well combined. With hands, shape dough into a ball. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, as I did. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough with rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. I bake mine on the large bar pan (Pampered Chef stone) with the silicone non-stick mat or parchment paper for about 8 minutes, just as they start to turn brownish on the ends. I like them a bit soft. After they've cooled completely, I ice them (softened butter, vanilla extract, milk and confectioners sugar, to taste & food coloring, if you wish). I got that wonderful Maple Leaf cookie cutter on our trip to Vermont this past August.