Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until blended. Sift dry ingredients together, and add nuts if desired. Gradually add to sugar mixture stirring after each addition. Shape into long rolls on waxed paper.
Chill in refrigerator for several hours. Slice into 1/8 to 1/2 inch think. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes. You can also make pinwheels by dividing dough into two equal sections, add food coloring of your choice, and roll out even sections of the two colors of dough.