2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Royal Icing with Meringue Powder, recipe follows
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup water
4 to 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (1 to 2 minutes). Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until mixture looks smooth (2 minutes). Incorporate flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt into butter mixture at low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl often. Shape into 2 disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (45 to 60 minutes) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a uniform layer about 1/8 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and cut dough into "Ethnic Edibles" shapes using the special cookie cutters. Re-use scraps to form additional cookies. Transfer cookies to an ungreased baking sheet. Freeze until firm (about 10 minutes), then place in the center of the oven. Bake cookies 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven, let cookies cool briefly on sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. To decorate, fill the icing bag with Royal Icing. Squeeze the icing into the point of a plastic bag and snip off a small part of the bag or use a #2 pastry tip to pipe icing onto the cookies.;
Mix the meringue powder with the water, beat until peaks form. Add the sifted powdered sugar, beat to thick consistency. Add additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar for firmer icing. Use icing at once or refrigerate in an airtight container. Beat icing again when ready to reuse. (Makes enough for 2 dozen cookies);
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