1. With a mixer on medium, cream the butter and sugar until they're fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla extract (and almond extract, if you're using it) and mix for another 10 seconds until the extract is incorporated. Add the salt and flour. Set the mixer to low and blend for a few seconds, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is well combined, about 30 seconds.
2. Form the dough into two balls and flatten them a bit so that they're about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for 30 minutes, or freeze it for 15 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees .
4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Gently pinch a section of each to form the mouse's nose. Stretch the rest of the ball slightly to form the body and press it down so that the cookie is about 3/4 inch thick.
5. Cut raisins, dates, or any dark-colored dried fruit into tiny pieces. For eyes, press two fruit pieces into the sides of the head. Press a fruit piece into the tip of the nose. Insert sliced almonds for ears.
6. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Immediately after removing the pan from the oven, carefully push a 2-to 3-inch piece of red licorice lace into the end of each cookie for a tail.