For decorating, dessert, and party favors at Southwestern or cowboy theme parties, pine-nut studded cactus cookies stand in mini pots. Attach sticks to the handshaped cookies before baking, then stand the cacti in cones partially filled with puffed rice treats. Ice and attach cherry cactus blooms.
Beat 1 cup butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and almond extract; beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Mix in green food coloring until dough color is uniform. Divide dough into thirds.
Shape one portion of dough into twelve 3/4-inch balls for barrel cactus cookies; place balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Divide another dough portion into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into an oval around the top half of a wooden crafts stick; place on another ungreased cookie sheet. Divide the remaining portion into twenty-four 1/2-inch balls; elongate slightly, making one end a little narrower. Press narrow ends of two elongated pieces into the sides of each oval to form a saguaro-shape cookie. Press pine nuts into all cookies.
Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Carefully transfer to wire racks to cool.
For the puffed rice treats, melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows; stir until melted. Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and puffed rice cereal, tossing until well coated. Press some of the mixture into ice cream cones filling to 1/2 inch below top rim; cool. (Press remaining mixture into a shallow baking pan; let cool. Cut into bars.) Carefully insert the wooden stick of a saguaro cactus cookie slightly off-center in each one as directed above.
Tint frosting yellow-orange with food coloring. Using about 1 tablespoon of icing, frost top of each cone around saguaro cactus stick. Place one barrel cactus cookie atop icing on each cone. Cut each cherry into sections, leaving bottom intact; fan open to make a flower. Top each barrel cactus cookie with a cherry, using a dollop of frosting for glue. If desired, tie ribbon around stick at base of cactus. Makes 12.