- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1-3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- Black, orange and brown paste food coloring
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. With a 2-in. round cookie cutter, cut out 18 circles. Repeat with 1-1/2-in. and 1-in. round cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges are set. Cool completely on wire racks.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine confectioner's sugar, meringue powder, 1/3 cup water and, if desired, extract; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add enough remaining water until icing no longer holds a peak. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. Using a pastry bag and #2 round tip, pipe icing over cookies. Let stand at least 5 minutes before gently stacking cookies to create snowmen. Let stand at room temperature several hours or until frosting is dry and firm. Using a new paintbrush, decorate snowmen as desired with food coloring. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Stacked Snowman Cookies in Cookies & Candies Bookazine 2016
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