For easy cutting, look for a nested set of square cookie cutters in baking supply stores. Get creative with decorating the boxes by using fruit leather to make an edible festive ribbon. To make construction of the boxes easier, use soup cans to prop the sides of the cookies up while they're drying.
- Portion size 7 servings
- Credits : Canadian Living: Holiday Baking 2014
- 3/4 cups butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2/3 cups decorating sugar
- Assorted small candies (optional)
- Red fruit leather ribbon such as Fruit by the Foot (optional)
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 2 1/3 cups icing sugar
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture in 2 additions just until combined. Divide dough in half; shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
Let dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out, about 15 minutes. Between waxed paper or on lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to scant 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Using 2-inch (5 cm) square cookie cutter, cut out 28 squares,re-rolling scraps as necessary. Roll out remaining dough; using 2 1/4-inch (6 cm) square cookie cutter, cut out 14 squares, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Arrange, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 375°F (190°C) oven just until firm and edges and bottoms are light golden, 5 to 7 minutes. While still warm, use cookie cutters to trim cookies to match their original sizes; transfer directly to racks to cool completely. (Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container; store for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.)
Royal Icing: Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat meringue powder with 1/4 cup water until foamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in icing sugar until stiff and glossy, about 9 minutes. Spoon 1/3 cup of the icing into piping bag fitted with small plain tip; cover remaining icing with damp towel and set aside.
Pipe along top edge of one 2 1/4-inch (6 cm) cookie; place one 2-inch (5 cm)
cookie upright along iced edge of base, lining up with 1 corner. Pipe icing along 2 adjacent edges of another 2-inch (5 cm) cookie. Attach iced sides to base and first upright cookie, lining up with corner to form 90-degree angle. Repeat with 2 more 2-inch (5 cm) pieces, making sure to line up with corner of the previous piece. Repeat process with 6 more 2 1/4-inch (6 cm) pieces and remaining 2-inch (5 cm) pieces to build 7 open-top boxes; reserve 7 of the 2 1/4-inch (6 cm) pieces for lids. Let dry completely, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, using small offset spatula, spread thin layer of reserved icing over tops and sides of reserved 2 1/4-inch (6 cm) pieces. Sprinkle with some of the decorating sugar. Let stand until dry, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, using small offset spatula, spread thin layer of remaining icing over outsides of boxes. Sprinkle with remaining decorating sugar. Let dry completely, about 1 hour.
Fill boxes with candies (if using); top with 2 1/4-inch (6 cm) cookies. Decorate with fruit leather (if using). (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.)
Tip from The Test Kitchen: Line the bottom of the storage container you place the cookie boxes in with parchment paper to keep the fruit leather from sticking.
Nutritional facts per box: about
- Fibre 1 g
- Sodium 179 mg
- Sugars 81 g
- Protein 7 g
- Calories 668.0
- Total fat 22 g
- Potassium 60 mg
- Cholesterol 78 mg
- Saturated fat 13 g
- Total carbohydrate 114 g
- Iron 16.0
- Folate 32.0
- Calcium 2.0
- Vitamin A 18.0