- 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ROYAL ICING:
- 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 7 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup meringue powder
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 drops clear vanilla extract, optional
- Assorted food coloring, optional
- Assorted candy coating disks, melted
- Colored sprinkles, optional
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Repeat.
- Bake at 350° for 13-16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- For icing, in a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and corn syrup. If desired, add extract and tint with food coloring; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture. Frost cookies. Let stand until set.
- To decorate cookies, place melted candy coating in small resealable plastic bags; cut a small hole in the corner of each bag. Decorate cookies as desired. Yield: 6 dozen.
Originally published as Decorated Sugar Cookie Cutouts in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2013, p148
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