Special equipment: piping bags with medium and small tips
Make the dough for sugar cookies: Dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Place the dough on top. Dust with more flour and top with another sheet of parchment. Roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness and chill until firm, about 20 minutes.
Cut the pieces: Measure and cut six panels for each box: a 4" x 4" top and bottom, two 4" by 2" sides and two 3 3/4" by 2" sides. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut them out.
Bake and cool all pieces according to recipe instructions, reducing cooking time as needed. To create the perfect right angles after cooling, use a fine kitchen rasp to file the edges, making them nice and straight.
Thicken some Royal Icing: Thicken about 2 cups of the Royal Icing with either cornstarch and a couple of drops of vinegar, or extra confectioners' sugar, to get the consistency of caulk. Fit a pastry bag with a medium round tip and fill it with the thickened icing.
Make the boxes: Using Royal Icing, attach the four walls to the bottom and to each other. The longer walls will face each other. Leave the tops for the end. Let the boxes dry 24 hours before adding finishing touches. Store remaining Royal Icing with plastic wrap touching the surface.
When dry, use a paring knife to trim off excess overflowing icing so the outside of the box has a clean finish.
Decorate: Fit small round tips into piping bags. Divide the remaining Royal Icing into batches and color as desired. Fill bags with icing and pipe neat lines along the seams of the box first. Then go back and pipe little dots along the piped lines to create more interest. At this point, you can decorate the box and lid however you want. Do some pencil sketches on paper first to get an idea of what you might like. Then go for it.
Let the icing dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours. Fill with treats of your choosing, tie with a ribbon and present.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
Combine the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and 3/4cup water in a large bowl. Mix slowly with an electric mixer until stiff enough to form peaks; the icing should be pure white and thick, but not fluffy and bubbly. If the frosting is over beaten, it will get aerated which makes it harder to work with. If this happens, let the frosting sit to settle, and then use a rubber spatula to vigorously beat and smooth out the frosting.
Add up to 1 tablespoon food coloring and mix with a rubber spatula until the color is uniform. Gels are best with royal icing. You don't want to thin them with liquid colors. Be careful of adding too much color, which reduces the sheen of the frosting and can break down the consistency of the frosting over a couple of days. Store the icing at room temperature, covered, with plastic wrap on the surface.
Copyright 2005 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.
If you want to do some of the work ahead of time, make the dough and cut out and bake the panels and freeze them until you are ready to assemble them.
Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.
From Food Network Kitchens