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Sift the flour, the baking powder, and the salt onto a board. Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, the vanilla and the milk and mix lightly. Pour the moist ingredients into a depression in the flour and work the ingredients into a dough with a knife.
Divide the dough into 4 parts, roll out and cut into the desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk.
Bake in a moderate oven at 325F/gas mark 3/160C, until golden brown.
4 1/2 cups flour 18oz/500g
1 1/2 cups sugar 12oz/350g
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk 2floz/56ml
1 egg yolk
3tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter 12oz/350g