1) Combine the sugar, butter, salt, vanilla extract or vanilla-butternut flavor, and baking soda. Beat until smooth, with no chunks of butter visible.
2) Add the egg, again beating until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
3) Add the flour, mixing until smooth. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.
4) Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly grease two baking sheets. To make the coating: Thoroughly combine the sugar and salt in a small, shallow dish or plastic bag.
5) Scoop the chilled cookie dough into 1" balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Roll or shake the dough balls in the coating until covered.
6) Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" between them; they'll spread.
7) Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown; the longer you bake them (short of burning, of course), the more caramelized they'll taste, and the crisper they'll be. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan until they're sturdy enough to transfer to a rack to cool completely. Or, if you don't need the pan, let them cool completely on the pan, loosening them from the pan or parchment with a spatula as soon as they lose their fragility.
Yield: about 3 dozen 2 1/2" cookies.
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