Pretty Present Cookies
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 portion of Royal Icing Paste (directions below)
Various bottles of food colouring
In a food processor process toasted almonds until finely ground. In a small bowl combine the ground almonds, flour, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, lemon peel, and, if desired, almond extract. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture. Divide dough in half. Cover; chill for 2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 180 C. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 3 cm thick. Using a square cookie cutter, cut out dough; reroll scraps as necessary (if necessary, chill scraps before rerolling). Place cutouts even spaced apart on an lined baking tray.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are light brown and centres are set. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack; cool.
Icing Paste into three or four portions. If desired, leave one portion white; set aside. Tint remaining portions with different food colouring. Divide each colour of icing in half. To half of each colour, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches a drizzling consistency. Use a thin spatula to spread thinned icing on cookies. Place biscuits on a wire rack set over waxed paper. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours or until dry. Place each colour of the remaining tinted icings into separate Ziploc bags; cut a small hole in one corner of each bag. Pipe lines and bows on dry iced cookies. Let stand about 1 hour or until dry.
4 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large mixing bowl stir together the icing sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add the water and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined; beat on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until icing reaches a stiff piping consistency. If not using right away, cover bowl with a damp paper towel and cover paper towel with plastic wrap; chill for up to 48 hours.
Recipe via Better, Homes and Gardens