I have been surrounded by sugar for three days and it's going to my head.
These little guys are fun to make, and I'm seriously handicapped when it comes to icing so you KNOW it's gotta be easy. They're not quite Martha-quality, but I think they came out pretty cute.
-3 c flour
-1 c sugar
-1 c butter, soft
-1 egg, beaten
-1/4 tsp salt
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-1 tbsp milk
-1 tsp vanilla
Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together in a stand mixer on medium. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a little at a time, until it is totally incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and divide the dough into two parts. Form the sections into balls, wrap with plastic wrap, and refridgerate for 2 hours.
Roll out the dough, one section at a time, to about 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters to create whatever shapes float your boat, and bake at 375 for about 9-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are just beginning to brown. Cool completely before icing.
-3 large egg whites
-1 tsp vanilla
-4 c powdered sugar
With your mixer on high, whip the egg whites and vanilla with the whisk attachment until they are fluffy and foamy. Add the powdered sugar, about half a cup at a time, and whisk on medium until all the sugar is incorporated. This icing will be VERY thick, shiny and pasty. It's like caulk made out of sugar.
Color the icing as you see fit with food coloring, and pipe onto the cookies using a pastry bag or ziploc bag with the corner cut off (it's actually not that hard to do!).
To create cookies like the ones I made above, pipe a thin line around each cookie into the shape you desire. Once all of the cookies have this "barrier", whisk the remaining icing with a few tablespoons of hot water until the icing is sort of runny. It's hard to explain the texture that gives you these results, so you'll just have to play around with it. You don't want the icing to be watery, but also not too stiff. Spoon the watered down icing into the center of the shape and spread it out - the lines you piped earlier will act as a barrier and keep it from running down the sides.