3Tablespoonsfreeze-dried cranberry powder(about ½ oz or ½ cup of whole freeze dried cranberries)
2 ¼teasponsmeringue powder(e.g., Wilton)
(Optional) Ralphie Glasses
¼cupchocolate chips(or chocolate melting wafers)
36piecesdecorative snowflake candy
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter till it’s pale and fluffy.
Add the white sugar and beat 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Add the almond extract and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
Do not use an electric mixer for this step! Gradually add in the flour and stir by hand with a wooden spoon until the dough is evenly mixed, being careful not to overmix.
Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them for 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle flour onto the countertop or a silicone mat and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, and place them onto cookie trays lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, leaving ½ inch between cookies. The cookies will not spread much during baking. Our 36 count batch size was using a 2 ¼ inch cutter.
Bake the cookies until the edges just begin to show a light golden color, about 13-16 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire baking rack and allow them to cool completely before adding the icing.
Finely grind the freeze dried cranberries. You can do this using a small food processor, a clean coffee bean grinder, or by putting the freeze dried cranberries in a zip-lock bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. Sift the grounds to keep only the powder, producing 3 Tablespoons of cranberry powder.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the cranberry powder, powdered sugar, and meringue powder.
Add the water, then whip for 7-10 minutes.
Using a pastry bag with a small round tip (Wilton #6), pipe the icing around the edge of the cookie and continue spiraling towards the center. The icing swirl will run together and form a smooth layer of icing.
(Optional) To add Ralphie's broken glasses, you can melt chocolate chips or chocolate wafers and pipe them onto the cookie. But first allow the pink icing to dry for at least an hour -- the icing doesn’t have to be completely dry, but should be firm to the touch. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe container for 20 seconds on 50% power, stir, and repeat the 20 second intervals until the chocolate is just melted enough for piping (don't over cook the chocolate!). Transfer the melted chocolate to a pastry bag with small round tip (Wilton #4) and pipe the glasses. Add a snowflake decorative candy to represent the crack in Ralphie's broken glasses.
Leave the iced cookies uncovered for several hours to dry completely before stacking them or transferring them to an air-tight container.
Adventure Bakers: Pink Nightmare Cookies https://adventurebakers.com/pink-nightmare-cookies/