Bake the cookies up to five days ahead, and store in an airtight container. To make our wind cookies and leaf cookies, we used round cutters and swirly piping to represent the wind, and various sizes of leaf-shaped cutters for fluttering foliage. For more on decorating cookies, visit southernliving.com/cookietips.
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
2 large pasteurized egg whites
Food coloring (optional)
How to Make It
Prepare Cookies: Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 to 7 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat 1 minute.
Sift together flour and next 2 ingredients. Add to butter mixture all at once, and beat at medium speed 1 minute or until combined. Flatten dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°, with oven racks in 2 middle positions. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; roll to 1/4-inch thickness. (If dough gets too soft to handle, chill 5 to 10 minutes.)
Cut dough with desired cutters, and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Reroll scraps as needed. Chill cut cookies 30 minutes.
Bake cookies, 2 sheets at a time, at 375° for 9 minutes. Rotate pans front to back, and top rack to bottom rack. Bake 2 to 4 more minutes or until slightly golden around edges. Remove cookies to wire racks, and cool completely (about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, prepare Icing: Beat powdered sugar, egg whites, and 2 tsp. water at low speed 2 minutes. (If necessary, add up to 1 Tbsp. water, 1 tsp. at a time, to reach desired consistency.) Divide icing, and tint with food coloring, if desired. Cover icing with plastic wrap or a damp towel when not in use.
Spread a thin layer of icing over each cookie. For a swirled effect, immediately dot cookie with another color of icing, and blend with a wooden pick. Let base layer of icing dry 10 minutes before piping details. Let finished cookies dry 15 minutes before serving.
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