Sugar Cookies(from Ngoc)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (really enhances the flavor)
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
NOTE: I double up the ingredients so I can get at least a couple dozen sugar cookies. So feel free to double up the recipe so you get more cookies!
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter until creamed and smooth - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling is mandatory. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
Once chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
Before baking, you can apply sprinkles like I did on the rainbow sprinkle lined cookies shown in this post. If you are planning to only ice them instead, or you just want to keep them plain - skip the sprinkles. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Bake for about 9 minutes. Allow to cool ON baking sheet for 5 minutes (make sure you do this), and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
ROYAL ICING RECIPE
6 tablespoons meringue powder
5 ounces lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
NOTE: No need to double the recipe here. This recipe will yield a lot of icing to work with.
In a large bowl, slowly mix together meringue powder and water. If it is lumpy, pour it through a sieve and smash through clumps. Using a hand mixer, beat mixture until it has doubled in size. Add cream of tartar. Mix. Add almond extract. Mix. Add half of powdered sugar. Mix. Add corn syrup. Mix. Add remaining sugar and mix well.