1 c. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 vanilla pod
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c. sifted flour
Cream the butter. Add powdered sugar. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrap out the inside. Add to the beaten egg with the almond extract, and vanilla extract. Add egg mixture to the butter mixture. Blend in the flour and salt.
Chill dough until firm. Roll to 1/4" thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375*F for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.
Yields approx 2 dozen cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutter.
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp meringue powder
5 Tbsp water
Combine all ingredients in the cowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speend until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (7-10min). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing and not intended to be used for decoration.
Add water a little at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until icing has reaches a piping consistency. The icing should not be difficult to pipe. Transfer icing to separate airtight containers and colour icing as desired.
Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand until icing is set. Keep remaining icing covered at all times so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies are edged, thin the remaining icing until it drips off the spoon easily when lifted and smooths in with that still in the bowl within 5-10 seconds. If the icing becomes too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it.
Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer to a squeeze bottle and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. Use a toothpick to help spread it to the edges.
Drop dots of the second icing colour into the just-flooded cookie. Drag a toothpick through the centre of the dots. Allow to set completely.