Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Combine all dry ingredients, gradually add to sugar mixture, blending just until combined. Cover and refrigerate one hour.
*To roll out: instead of just flouring your work surface, do a combination of flour/powdered sugar on your cutting board. This will make sure the cookies don't get too much additional flour, which can make them too dry or tough when they are baked.*
Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets at 350 for 10 minutes (or until the edges are very lightly browned). Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to cooling racks. Let cool completely before icing.
Edible Paint Icing
1/4 cup cold water
3 TBSP meringue powder (I get mine at Michaels)
2 cups powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, combine water with meringue powder. Beat with a wire whisk until foamy. Whisk in powdered sugar until combined. Divide into smaller bowls and color as needed. Paint cookies immediately. (I just buy some small craft paint brushes at the craft store and run them through the dishwasher after the kids are done.) Sprinkle any colored sugars or sprinkles immediately, this icing dries quickly.
To freeze these, just place them outside your front door for 33 seconds. I kid. Sorta. Really, though...just stack them carefully in a hard-sided container (like a plastic food storage one), dividing each layer with waxed paper or parchment. Let thaw completely before icing.