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1 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 ts vanilla
1/4 ts salt
2 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c poppy seeds

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350F.  Beat together butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl until light and fluffy, then add flour and poppy seeds and mix until just combined. 

Transfer dough to a large plastic bag, pat out dough almost to the edges and and seal bag.  Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick and freeze dough on a baking sheet until firm (20 to 30 minutes). 

Open bag and cut apart along seams, and cut out as many ovals as possible with 2.5 inch oval cookie cutter (reserve scraps).  Transfer to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, placing about 1/2 inch apart. Bake cookies (switch position of sheets halfway through), until edges are golden (16 to 20 minutes). Cool cookies on sheets on racks 5 minutes, then transfer with a spatula to racks to cool completely.  Gather and reroll scraps, then cut out and bake more. Makes about 36.  Keep in an airtight container at room temperature (good for about 1 week).