With their greater proportion of butter to sugar, these cookies are more tender and less crumbly than most sugar cookies. You can serve them golden brown as they come from the oven. But if you have artistic talent, here's your chance to show it off. Besides using the colored sugar and sprinkles suggested here, you can stamp these cookies with decorative designs before baking, and stencil, ice and glaze them after baking.
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In a small bowl, whisk 2 of the egg yolks with the cream. In a standing electric mixer, combine the flour and sugar. Add the butter and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles crumbs, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream mixture in a slow steady stream, beating at low speed until the ingredients are just combined. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, shape into 6-inch disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling it out.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining 2 egg yolks with the water. Lightly brush the cookies with the egg wash and sprinkle with colored sugar and sprinkles. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer the cookies on the paper to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
The baked cookies will keep for up to 1 week in tightly sealed tins. Pack between sheets of wax paper.
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