Yes, those are mermaids. Because life is better with a bit of whimsy. Let’s get started!
Ingredients (Makes about 4 dozen cookies)
For the cookies:
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour
For the frosting:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Food coloring (I used blue)
Colored sugar crystals (I used gold, pink, purple, and green)
Step 1) Cream together butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt. Mix in flour, one cup at a time, until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.
Step 2) Working with 1/2 of the chilled dough at a time, roll dough 1/3 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into mermaid tails and starfish. Carefully transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Step 3) Bake cookies in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown on the bottoms. Do not underbake, or cookies will not stand upright later! If anything, cookies should be slightly overbaked.
Step 4) Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack. While cookies are cooling, mix together softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, lemon extract, and a few drops of food coloring (I used blue for the scales and beige for the fins and starfish) to make icing.
Step 5) Transfer 1/2 cup of icing to a zip-lock sandwich bag and snip a small triangle off of one corner of the bag. Use this “homemade pastry bag” to apply icing to your cookies as shown.
Step 6) Blend together several colors of sugar sprinkles for the mermaid fins (I used mostly pink and purple, with small amounts of green and gold). Sprinkle on each cookie immediately after applying icing. Use gold sprinkles for the mermaid tails and starfish.
Step 7) To display and serve, apply a thick layer of blue icing to a serving platter. Stand the mermaid cookies upright in the icing, and arrange starfish around the sides. Have fun!