Royal Icing:


  • Heat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in bowl.

  • Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat until fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in egg and extract. On low speed, beat in flour mixture until dough forms.

  • Pat dough into 1-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 15 minutes.

  • Roll out dough on floured surface with floured rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with 3-inch cutters. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps; cut more.

  • Bake in 375°F oven 9 to 11 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Cool on sheets set on racks 2 minutes. Remove cookies to racks to cool.

  • With fine-tipped paintbrush, coat cookies with thinned icing. Let dry. Pipe on thicker icing with writing tip.

Royal Icing:

  • Beat meringue powder or powdered egg whites, confectioners sugar, sifted, and water in bowl until peaks form, 10 minutes (makes 3 cups). Base coat: Thin half of icing with water, a drop at a time, until sour cream consistency. Use thicker icing for piping. Tint icing with food colors; keep covered.