cup butter, softened
3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
cup powdered sugar
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon almond extract
cups all-purpose flour
Royal Icing Snowflakes (optional)
In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a scalloped 4-inch cookie cutter, cut out dough, rerolling scraps as needed. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Decorate as desired with Royal Icing. If desired, decorate with Royal Icing Snowflakes. Makes about 12 cookies. Royal Icing: In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder, and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Add 1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Tint with food coloring, if desired. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency. Makes about 3 cups. TO STORE: Cookies decorated with syrup and almonds do not hold well so decorate them within 4 hours of serving. To store undecorated cookies, layer them between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.