Santa’s Elf Cookies
These rosy-cheeked elf cookies make a showstopping addition to your holiday cookie tray. Practice makes perfect to get the royal icing design just right! —Josh Rink, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Total TimePrep: 2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
Makesabout 4 dozen
- 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
- 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
- 2 ounces almond paste
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ROYAL ICING AND DECORATIONS:
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons water plus 2 teaspoons water
- 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Food coloring, optional
- Edible food writing pens, optional
- Black nonpareils, edible pen and pink luster dust, optional
- 1 can chocolate frosting
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment, add almond paste and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar; pulse until almond paste and sugar are well mixed and texture resembles finely ground cornmeal. In a large bowl, cream butter and remaining confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Add almond paste mixture and beat until fully incorporated. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°; on a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out using floured 3-1/2-in. elf cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until light golden brown and firm, 7-8 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and water for icing; whip until light and airy, adding water if needed to reach desired consistency. Divide icing into thirds; leave one portion white. Tint one portion of icing with red food coloring; tint remaining portion with desired food coloring for face. Place icings into piping bags fitted with fine round tips. Pipe icing onto cookies to create clothing, hat and face. While icing is still wet, place black nonpareils to create eyes. Let icing dry completely. If desired, dip small brush into pink luster dust; tap off excess and dab onto cookies to create pink cheeks. Using leaf tip #67, pipe frosting to create ears. Using small round tip, pipe icing to create nose. Using edible pen, draw mouth. Place chocolate frosting into piping bag fitted with #14 star tip; pipe along top of face and rim of hat to create hair. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts1 cookie: 134 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 18mg cholesterol, 72mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.
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