Baby Bottle Cookies

We had my co-worker Jen's baby shower this week, so I decided to tap into my creative baking days and make some iced cookies shaped and decorated to look like baby bottles. I used to love my baking and decorating pre-WW days, but since I've been dieting I haven't trusted myself to bake anything so fattening. Those bites, licks and tastes (BLTs) really add up (and so do the 1, 2 or 7 cookies that passed through my lips). Anyway, here is a great cut-out cookie recipe that can be used for any occasion and cookie cutter.

Baby Bottle Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder or powdered egg whites
3 tablespoons water, divided
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time; beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cookie cutter, cut out shapes. Re-roll dough as needed. Place shapes on ungreased baking sheets. Bake cookies until firm and lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Combine the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water and lemon juice and beat with the mixer on medium speed until a thick, smooth icing forms. Divide icing among several bowls (however many colors you plan to use to decorate). Tint icing with desired food colorings, one drop at a time. Place half of the icings in separate resealable plastic bags and snip off a small part of the corner. Pipe outlines around cookies as desired. Thin the remaining icing with the remaining water. Fill in outlined cookies with thinned icing. Let dry completely.

(For those of you counting points, don't even bother eating them! I gained a pound this week. It's hard to eat just one.)


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