Iced Sugar Cookies

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Prep: 3 hr 45 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 24 to 36 cookies
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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1-pound box confectioners' sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)

2 tablespoons meringue powder

Nonpareils, for decorating (optional)

Directions

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
  2. Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture in 2 batches and beat until just incorporated. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, lightly dust the dough with flour and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper until about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Cut out shapes using 2-to-4-inch cookie cutters and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Gather the scraps and refrigerate until firm; reroll once to cut out more cookies. Refrigerate the cutouts until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until just golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the icing: Sift the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder into a large bowl. Beat in 6 tablespoons water with a mixer on medium speed until soft, glossy peaks form. Spread on the cookies and decorate with nonpareils. Let set, about 1 hour.

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