¾ t salt
4½ c all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter, room temperature
½ cup shortening, room temperatrue
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1½ t vanilla extract
2 to 4 T water, if needed
3 T meringue powder
1 lb (4 cups) confectioners' sugar
6 T warm water
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together salt and flour; set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on low speed until thorgoughly combined. The mixture should come together to form a dough; if it does not, stir in additional water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until dough is formed. Dough will mass around beaters and will feel slightly grainy, but should not be sticky.
Chill dough, covered, 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. flour work surface and rolling pin and roll half of the dough to a thickness of 5/16 inch. Refrigerate remaining half of dough. Cut out desired shapes and transfer with a spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, at least 1" apart. Form scraps into a ball and chill, covered. Repeat with remaining dough and scraps.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes; transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
To make icing, beat meringue powder, confectioners' sugar and warm water until mixture forms peaks. Makes 3 cups icing. Decorate cookies as desired.
Makes about 5 dozen 3" cookies.