These bewitching cutout cookies are perfect for kids or adult parties on Halloween. Make both the vanilla cookies and the chocolate cookie variation.
In bowl, mix flour and salt. In medium bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in thirds. Shape into disk; divide in half. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Using half the dough at a time, roll out between parchment or waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness. (You can also roll out on well-floured surface.) Remove top sheet; cut out shapes. Reserve scraps. Transfer cookies from paper to ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes or until browned around edges. Transfer to rack; cool. Repeat steps with scraps.
Prepare Royal Icing (recipe follows).
Add food coloring to thin Royal Icing for base coat as desired. Use a thin spatula to spread icing to edges of cookies. Add food coloring to thick Royal Icing for piping as desired. Place in pastry bags with writing tips. Using the cookies pictured here and on our cover as a guide, pipe edging and designs on cookies. Sprinkle with cocoa powder, chocolate jimmies or assorted colored sugars as desired. To make a spiderweb: Paint cookies with white icing. Pipe contrasting spiral on top. Draw a knife through spiral, starting at center.
For thin icing for base coat, in small bowl, beat together: confectioners' sugar, powdered egg whites (see Note), and warm water until consistency of honey, about 6 minutes. For thick icing for piping, make a second batch as above, but use only 6 tablespoons warm water; beat until consistency of sour cream.