Holiday Lemon Sugar Cookies
yields about 3 dozen cookies
Cookie recipe adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
2 ounces of cream cheese (1/4 of a regular package)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 Cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Royal Icing Frosting:
1 pound confectioner's sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder (egg white powder) or 2 large egg whites
1/2 cup water
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk, and set aside.
In a large sized mixing bowl cream softened butter and add the sugar. Beat until the butter is lighter in color, and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated, then add the cream cheese. Mix, and add the extracts and lemon. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and only mix until combined. Press into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
When you are ready to roll out the cookies, pre-heat the oven to 350F. Divide your dough into three sections, and roll out one at a time. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness, using a light sprinkling of flour on the cutting board/top of dough to prevent sticking. It helped me to dip my cookie cutters into flour before cutting, to help them release better. Cold dough releases better, so if your dough starts to get warm and lose its firmness, pop it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Cut out your desired shapes, put on a baking sheet, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Larger cookies will take an extra few minutes, but since every oven is different, keep an eye on them.
Combine the confectioner's sugar and meringue powder or egg whites. Mix, adding a 1/2 cup water. Add more or less depending on the consistency that you want. Once you mix it you can change the color by adding food coloring. Coloring gels work well because they don't dilute the icing. Decorate to your heart's content.