In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla bean paste until well combined and creamy. Beat in milk. Gradually beat in flour until combined. Divide dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or until firm.Advertisement
On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a floured 2-1/2 to 3 inch heart-shape cookie cutter to make cutouts and place them 1 inch apart on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Use a smaller heart-shape cutter, about 1-1/2 inches, to cut out the centers of half of the large hearts. Reroll scraps and repeat cutting.
Bake in a 375° oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Spread about 2 teaspoons preserves onto the bottoms of whole hearts. If you like, sift powdered sugar over the hearts that have cutouts before placing them on top of the cookies with preserves. Store assembled cookies in a single layer in a covered container for up to 2 days at room temperature.
Make-Ahead or Storage
Place unfilled cookies in a single layer between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw cookies, if frozen. Assemble as directed. To serve, thaw cookies, if frozen. Assemble as directed.
*Vanilla bean paste
Vanilla bean paste, a syrupy product sold at specialty stores or online, provides vanilla bean specks without the task of scraping a pod. (Nielsen-Massey is one good brand.)