This recipe is about one-sixth the size of the batch that Linda Brooks makes each year. It can easily be multiplied.
Servings: 40 cookies
- For the cookies
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for baking sheets
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
- For the glaze/icing
- 4 egg whites
- 8 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 6 drops glycerin (optional, for glossy icing)
For the cookies: In the large bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until combined.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl or on a sheet of wax paper, combine the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and flour. Reduce the speed to low and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture until well blended. Halve the dough and wrap each portion in wax paper, flattening it out to about a half-inch thick. Chill the dough sections for at least 1 hour. (If the dough is to be refrigerated longer, wrap it in plastic wrap in addition to the wax paper.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using 1 portion of the dough at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch. Cut out cookie shapes and place on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Two sheets can be baked at a time. The cookies will puff slightly but will relax just before they are done. Bake for a total of 7 to 10 minutes; about halfway through the baking time, you may need to switch positions of baking sheets or turn them back to front to allow for even baking. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
For the glaze/icing: In the large bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites or egg white mixture until stiff but not dry. Reduce speed to low to add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the glycerin, if desired. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes more. If icing is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time; if it's too thin, add more sugar.
In a small separate bowl, place about 1/2 cup of the icing mixture and make it thin enough so that the glaze is translucent when spread with a pastry brush on a cooled cookie, about the consistency of cream. This bit is a little tricky. If the mixture is too wet or applied too thickly, it won't dry properly on the cookies. Let dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Using food-coloring gels, mix desired colors with the remaining icing mixture. Fill pastry bags fitted with decorating tips and decorate cookies.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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