Thanksgiving tends to be all about the pie, but making cookies with friends can also be a great way to celebrate together. The cookie dough and frosting can be made in advance, then everyone can choose which cookie cutters to use and color the frosting exactly the way they like. In the end, it’s all about having fun together--and having something fun to eat, too!
leaf, pumpkin or other fall-themed cookie cutters; 4 pastry bags fitted with small tips, optional
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla, salt and almond extract and mix until combined. Whisk the pumpkin pie spice into the flour, then, with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time until combined. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and mix again until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half, form into 2 squares and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use leaf, pumpkin or other fall-themed cookie cutters to cut into different shapes, then carefully move to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Re-roll and cut the scraps until you’ve used all the dough. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until lightly browned, about 14 minutes total. Cool completely on a rack before frosting with tinted Vanilla Frosting.
Add the butter, heavy cream, maple extract and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until combined. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar a tablespoon at a time and mix as it incorporates.
Separate the frosting into 4 bowls and add food coloring to the bowls. Spoon the frostings into separate pastry bags fitted with small tips. If you don’t have pastry bags, use ziptop bags with the corners snipped off. Decorate the cooled cookies!