You can also divide the dough and freeze portions for up to three months. That way you can always be ready to enjoy a fresh batch with out all of the work.
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
Using an electric mixer combine butter and sugar, beat until fluffy.
Beat in eggs.
Add flour mixture on low speed.
Stir in vanilla.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325˚ F.
On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut shapes.
Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
It’s time consuming to chill the cookies before baking, but it helps the cookies maintain their shape and still stay soft. Cool before decorating with royal icing.
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder
Scant 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients and mix on low for 7 minutes.
If too thick, add water. If too thin, beat for another 2-3 minutes
For a Martha Stewart how to video on making and decorating with royal icing click here.
If decorating with kids, gauge their age with the style of decorating. For real young kids sprinkle with colored sugar just before baking or make icing a little thinner and have them dip the tops of the cookies into the icing. Older kids can decorate by piping the icing. Squeezable containers make it easy.