3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon or almond extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons meringue powder
5-8 tablespoons warm water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring, optional
For the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a whisk; set aside.
Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Stir in extracts.
Add flour mixture all at once and mix on low until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Form dough into a 2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic and chill for about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll chilled dough on a floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are pale brown. Slide parchment paper off sheet trays onto wire cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.
For the icing: Combine powdered sugar, meringue powder and 5 tablespoons warm water in a stand mixer; mix on low 7-10 minutes until peaks form. Stir in vanilla extract. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is the consistency of a thick glaze. Tint with food coloring, adding it a few drops at a time, until desired color is achieved.
Place cooled cookies on a wire rack placed over parchment paper for easy clean up and glaze each cookie. Add other embellishments as desired.
Makes three dozen.
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