Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat for another minute to combine.
Add half the flour and all of the baking powder and mix for 30 seconds until combined. Add in the rest of the flour and mix again until the dough just comes together.
Place a large piece of baking parchment on the work surface and lightly flour it. Place the dough on top, sprinkle with a little more flour and roll out the dough to about 0.5cm thickness. Slide the baking parchment onto a baking sheet and cover in clingfilm, then place in the fridge for an hour (and up to 24 hours).
Preheat oven to 175c/350f. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
Cut the dough into shapes using a cookie cutter. Re-roll any leftover dough and cut again. Continue to do this until all the dough is used (you should get at least 14 medium sized cookies).
Place in the oven and cook for approx. 7-10 minutes until very lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (they can cool on the tray or on a wire rack).
Once the cookies are cool, make the icing. You’ll need a thick ‘border’ icing and a thinner ‘filler’ icing. Start by mixing the icing sugar and 2-3 tbsp of milk in a large bowl with a fork or whisk. You want a thick constancy – so that when you lift the whisk you get a trail of icing that takes 5 or 6 seconds to sink back in. This is your border icing.
Now pour out half of the icing mixture into another bowl and add a tiny bit more milk (so that a trail sinks back in after 1-2 seconds). This is your filler icing.
Add food colouring paste in your desired colour and spoon into disposable piping bags (I had 1 portion of white border icing, 1 portion of green border icing and 1 portion of green filler icing), Snip the very tips off the bags, then use the border icing to create patterns and borders. Use the filler icing to ‘colour in’ the cookies. The border icing should stop the icing running off the cookies. Use the filler icing quite sparingly and use a cocktail stick to gently push the filler icing up to the borders. If you want to draw a pattern on top of a layer of icing, then allow the bottom layer of icing to dry before piping any more on top.
The Christmas tree cookies were made by using the green border icing to create the edges, then green filler icing to colour in the tree. I left this layer to dry, then used white border icing to create lines that look like tinsel. I then glued smarties to the branches using a little more border icing.
The star cookie pattern was created using white border icing. Sprinkle on a little edible glitter before the icing sets.
These cookies will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed container at room temperature..Nutritional Information is per cookie.