Starry centers filled with Pop Rocks lend a bit of fireworks to your dessert table with just the right amount of sparkle and surprise. And these red, white and blue treats are equipped with handy, dandy sticks to let you run around your picnic or barbecue utensil-free.
In a bowl, mix the flour and salt with a whisk and set aside. With a hand-held mixer or in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and blend well. Add the extract and blend. Gradually add the flour mixture until a dough forms. Wrap the dough and chill for two hours. When ready, roll the dough on a surface dusted with flour to one-quarter-inch thickness. Cut out your cookies and place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Yields about 12 sandwich cookies or 24 individual cookies.
Whip the meringue powder and water on high speed for several minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and stiff peaks form. Blend in half of the confectioners' sugar on low speed. Blend in the remaining ingredients. Add the remaining confectioners' sugar to the desired consistency. The icing should be stiff enough to hold its shape, but not so stiff that it's difficult to pipe from a decorating bag. Store at room temperature in a sealed container up to one month.
* Find the cookie cutters, lollipop sticks, decorating bag, coupler and decorating tip at the craft store. For food coloring, I suggest Americolor Soft Gel Pastes (Red Red, Royal Blue and Bright White used here), available at specialty stores and online.
Prepare your cookie dough according to the recipe, chill and divide the dough in two. Add a few drops of red food coloring to half of your dough and a few drops of blue food coloring to the other half.Knead the food coloring very well into the dough, adding more drops of coloring as needed for desired color. If the dough becomes soft from kneading, chill for an additional half hour before using.
Roll the blue dough about one-quarter-inch thick on a surface dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Cut out the larger stars, and then cut a star from the center with the smaller cookie cutter. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.Repeat with the red dough, but do not cut out the inner star.Bake the cookies according to the recipe just until the edges start to brown, and let cool completely.
Prepare royal icing according to the recipe. Mix in white food coloring to the desired shade. Prepare a decorating bag with the coupler and decorating tip, fill with the white icing, and close the bag tightly with a rubber band. Cover and reserve the remaining icing.
Pipe a line of icing on the back of a red star cookie and attach a lollipop stick.Pipe an outline on the back of the red star cookie.Pipe back and forth to completely fill the outline on the cookie. Turn a blue star cookie over and pipe an outline on the back.Gently press the blue star cookie on top of the red cookie. Sprinkle Pop Rocks candy to fill the little star in the center of the blue cookie. Let the cookies dry very well, several hours to overnight.
If desired, use a color printer to print the free printable on white card stock or other heavyweight paper. Cut out the flags using the gray lines as a guide. Fold each flag in half and snip a wedge from the end. Unfold, coat the entire underside with glue and wrap around the lollipop stick.
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