3/4 pound unsalted butter; at room temperature
1 cup sugar; plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground pecans; (reserve 2 tablespoons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with mixture of 2 Tbs sugar and 2 Tbs ground pecans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.