Holiday Sugar Cookies
For the Sugar Cookies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
dash of salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
For the Royal Icing:
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons meringue powder
7-8 tablespoons water
For the Sugar Cookies: In a medium mixing bowl add the sifted flour, baking powder and dash of salt. Mix well and set aside.
Using a kitchen mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the sifted confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, butter and egg. Turn the mixer on low to blend. With the mixture on low, add the flour-mixture and mix to incorporate.
Remove the cookie dough from the mixer and divide into two equal pieces. Shape each into a flat round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Once the dough has rested, remove from the refrigerator and allow to warm up slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
On a well floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut into desired shapes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and re-roll any remaining dough until all is used. Place in the oven and bake for about 7-8 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
For the Royal Icing: In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar and meringue powder. Turn the mixer on low and add the water. Mix until the icing holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface when you lift the paddle above the icing. Note: Getting the right consistency is tricky, if the icing is too thick, add a little more water. If it is too thin, add some additional confectioners’ sugar. Add a small amount of gel food coloring to tint frosting to desired color(s) and decorate your holiday cookies as desired.
Decorated cookies should be stored in an airtight container to maintain freshness, they do not need to be refrigerated.