1. Start by preparing the cookie dough. In a large mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Slowly add to butter mixture. Mix on low until well combined.
3. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (You don’t want the dough too firm because then it’ll be harder to roll out).
4. Generously flour a clean surface and both sides of the dough. Roll out to ¼ inch thick. Using the cookie cutters, cut out shapes (make sure you have two small circles for each large circle and for each tree).
5. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and place on a baking rack to cool.
7. While the cookies are cooling, make the royal icing.
8. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment) add meringue and powdered sugar. Slowly add the water. Turn the mixer on high and whip for 10-15 seconds. When the frosting is ready, it should flow very slowly from the whisk. If it flows in ribbons quickly, turn it back on high and continue to whip until a little more stiff.
9. Divide the frosting into five bowls, one for yellow, blue, white, gray and black. (You need to reserve more for yellow and blue).
10. Fit 4 piping bags with tips and leave four uncut. Place each bag in tall cups and wrap the top of the bags over the side of the cup (Think like you’re lining a trash can with a trash bag. This will make filling the bags a lot easier).
11. Fill the bags with tips with yellow, blue, black and gray. This will be for your outlines.
12. To create the flood or fill icing, you’ll need to add a tablespoon more of water each to the remainder of the yellow, blue, white and black. Slowly mix in the water and when it flows quickly from the spoon, it’s ready. In the uncut bags, add the yellow, blue, white and black flood icings. Don’t snip off the ends until you’re ready to fill!
So you should have:
1 bag with #3 tip with yellow (body outline)
1 bag with #3 tip for blue (pants outline)
1 bag with #3 tip for gray (eyes outline)
1 bag with #2 tip for black (details after they are dry)
1 bag with no tip for yellow flood (body fill)
1 bag with no tip for blue flood (pants fill)
1 bag with no tip for white flood (eyes fill)
1 bag with no tip for black flood icing (pupils)
13. When the cookies are cool, start by outlining the eyes with gray. Snip off the end of the white flood and fill in the center. Use a tooth pick to help spread the frosting out to the edges. When you place the bags of flood icing back into the cups, twist them and put them back in the cup tip side up to keep from spilling out. Then snip of the black flood icing and add black to the center of the white.
14. Now, outline the top 2/3 of the large round and Christmas tree cookies in yellow (as shown in the picture) fill in with yellow flood icing. Outline the bottom 1/3 in blue and will in with blue flood icing.
15. Let cookies dry for 3-4 hours or overnight.
16. Use the black outline icing to stick eyes onto the circles and to add faces, hair and other details.