1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup meringue powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1-1/4 cups cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
7 cups confectioners' sugar
Shirt, head with cap, tree and axe cookie cutters
Assorted paste or liquid food coloring
Pastry bags for piping icing
#2 round pastry tips
Buffalo plaid stencil
Airbrush set with edible ink or edible spray mist
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/8-in. thickness; cut with a shirt, head, tree and axe cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets; re-forming and re-rolling dough as needed. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes (do not overbake). Remove to wire racks to cool.
2. For frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add meringue powder, cream of tartar and salt; stir to combine. Add cold water, vanilla and almond extract; gently mix until smooth and no lumps remain. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and beat on low until soft peaks form and frosting is glossy, 7 to 10 minutes. Divide into 5 portions; tint shades of red, green, brown, gray and desired flesh tone. If needed, add additional confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Divide red, gray and flesh-tone portions in half; to 1 portion, add water, one tsp. at a time, until flood consistency is reached. Place frostings into piping bags fitted with #2 round piping tips.
3. For Plaid Shirt Cookies: Using stiff red frosting, pipe shape of shirt around edge of cookie; fill center with flood-consistency red frosting, using toothpick to pop any bubbles if needed. Allow to dry until frosting is firm to the touch, several hours or overnight. To create plaid pattern, place stencil over cookie. Center pattern and ensuring stencil is secure; use airbrush gun with black edible ink or can of black color mist to spray lightly over stencil. Repeat until desired depth of color has been reached. Carefully remove stencil; allow the color to dry completely, 15 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat with remaining shirt-shaped cutout cookies, cleaning stencil as needed. Using stiff red and white frosting, pipe shirt details such as collar, cuffs, seams and buttons. Allow frosting to dry completely.
4. For Lumberjack Head Cookies: Using stiff red frosting, pipe shape of hat; fill center of hat shape with flood-consistency red frosting. Allow to dry until firm to the touch, several hours or overnight. To create plaid pattern, place stencil over red hat portion of the cutout cookie. Center pattern and ensuring stencil is secure. Use airbrush gun with black edible ink or can of black color mist to spray lightly over stencil. Repeat until desired depth of color has been reached. Carefully remove stencil; allow to frosting to dry completely, 15 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat with remaining head-shaped cutout cookies, cleaning stencil as needed. Using stiff flesh-tone frosting, pipe shape of face; fill shape with flood- consistency flesh-tone frosting. Using stiff brown frosting, pipe shape of beard; using toothpick, create texture in frosting to resemble hair. Allow to dry completely, several hours or overnight. Pipe mustache and eyebrows with brown frosting. Pipe nose with flesh-tone frosting. Using small amounts of black and white frosting, pipe eyes. Pipe brim of hat and pom-pom details with stiff red frosting. Allow to dry completely.
5. For Tree Cookies: Pipe stiff brown frosting for trunk. Use toothpick, create wood grain pattern. Allow to dry slightly, about 1 hour. Pipe dark green frosting to form branches; allow to dry completely, several hours or overnight. If desired, pipe stiff light green frosting partially over dark green frosting. Use a toothpick, create texture to resemble pine needles. Allow to dry completely
6. For Axe Cookies: Pipe stiff gray frosting in the shape of axe head; fill with flood consistency gray frosting. If desired, pipe lighter gray frosting to form beveled edge of axe; allow to dry, several hours or overnight. To form handle, pipe stiff brown frosting; using a toothpick to create wood grain pattern. Allow to dry completely.
7. Store cookie at room temperature in tightly sealed containers.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. + decorating. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
YIELD: about 3 dozen.
1 cookie: 206 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 24mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.