For the sugar cookie:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the royal icing:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the sugar cookies:
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
Turn the mixer to low and add the baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour and mix until combined.
Form dough into a ball and wrap dough tightly in plastic cling wrap and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate until firm (at least 1 hour or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Remove dough from fridge and let it stand for 5-10 minutes.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch thick. Cut out shapes using egg-shaped cookie cutters.
Transfer your cookies onto the cookie sheet, placing them 1 inch apart.
Re-roll scraps and repeat.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on thickness. Let it cool for 1 minute on the pan and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the royal icing:
In large bowl, combine the meringue powder with the confectioners’ sugar
Add the water and vanilla extract and beat with a mixer on medium-high until smooth. If you find that the icing is too thick, add more water. If too think, add more sugar.
Add food coloring, if desired. Note that if you are adding liquid food colouring, this will have an effect on your consistency. You may need to add more sugar to thicken it out.
Pipe the icing onto the cookies. Allow icing to harden for an hour before you apply the second layer (white designs).