- In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 3 hours or until easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough using a 3- to 4-inch fluted round cookie cutter, cane-shaped cutter, or desired shape cutter. Place cutouts on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
- Divide Edible Paint in half. Set aside one portion. Ice cookies with a thin layer of Edible Paint and decorate with candies, if desired. Transfer cookies to a work surface covered with waxed paper to dry.
- Meanwhile, divide remaining Edible Icing into two portions and tint one portion with with red paste food coloring and the other with green paste food coloring. Decorate iced or uniced cookies, as desired, using the tinted Edible Paint, natural sea sponges, stencils, and the small decorating candies. Makes about 30 cookies.
From the Test Kitchen
Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- In a large bowl, stir together powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add 1/2 cup of the warm water. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff. Add the 2 to 4 tablespoons additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make an icing of desired consistency. Makes about 3 cups.