In a mixing bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until the mixture is fluffy.
Add the uncooked egg yolks, sieved egg yolks, vanilla, salt, and almond extract. Beat until light.
Add the flour and half-and-half or light cream alternately to the beaten mixture, beating after each addition. Chill dough for 3 to 24 hours.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a doughnut cutter. Arrange the cutouts on ungreased cookie sheets.
Combine egg white and water; brush cutouts with mixture. Sprinkle with colored sugar and snipped fruit.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges just start to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes about 48 cookies.
Store cooled cookies at room temperature for 1 or 2 days or freeze for up to 6 months.