Black Cat Paw Cookies
- Yield: Makes about 6 dozen
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- Black gel food coloring
- 2 tablespoons unbroken sliced almonds (about 40), halved lengthwise
- Royal Icing
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour in 2 batches, mixing just until incorporated. Add enough food coloring until you reach desired shade of black.
Divide dough into two equal portions. Place each portion on a piece of plastic wrap; flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll out one portion of dough to 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cat paw cookie cutter, cut out cookies.
Transfer cut dough to prepared baking sheets. Insert an almond "nail" into the toe of each paw. If dough becomes too soft, place in the refrigerator for a few minutes firm. Bake cookies until golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet 1 minute; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.
Transfer half of the royal icing to a plastic squeeze bottle. Add enough black food coloring to remaining icing to make it grey. Transfer to a plastic squeeze bottle. To make the paw pads, squeeze 1 large circle of grey or white icing, about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, on the bottom third of the paw. Squeeze smaller circles, about 1/2 inch in diameter, in the center of each toe. Repeat with remaining cookies and white and grey icing. Allow icing to set completely before serving.