The kids will be jumping for joy when you bring out a cookie plate filled with Santas and his helper elves. These whimsical treats will be a hit with adults, too. The butter cookies are easy to shape and a delight to decorate. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ROYAL ICING:
- 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
- 8 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup water
- Food coloring of your choice
- 36 miniature marshmallows
- Assorted sprinkles and pearl dragees
- In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or until easy to handle.
- For Santas: On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Turn a pie plate upside down over circle and cut around the edge with a knife; reserve scraps. Cut into eight wedges.
- Place wedges 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Fold the tip of each wedge down. Tuck a scrap piece of dough (about a 1/2-in. ball) under the upper part of fold.
- For elves: Roll another portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Cut in half; cut one-half into four wedges and the other half into eight wedges. Repeat forming Santas with the large wedges. Transfer small wedges to a baking sheet; fold tips down, forming hats.
- Roll the remaining portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Cut into 16 wedges. Transfer to baking sheets; fold tips down.
- Bake at 350° for 10-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- To decorate: In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and cream of tartar; add water. Beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
- Tint icing with colors of your choice. (Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.) Working with one cookie at a time, decorate with icing, attach a marshmallow to the tip of hat and finish with sprinkles and dragees as desired. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2012, p75
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