EASTER EGG COOKIE BOXES by EASTER EGG COOKIE BOXESINGREDIENTS: - A batch of cookies made with my Chocolate Rolled Cookie Recipe. - A batch of "Royal Icing." - Two egg shaped cookie cutters, one about 1″ smaller than the other. - Small candies to fill the “boxes”. I filled mine with pretty pastel Sixlets.Chocolate Rolled Cookie Recipe... INGREDIENTS: 1 cup butter 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 egg2 Tablespoons chocolate liqueur or extra strong coffee (this can be made with about 1 teaspoon of instant espresso dissolved into 2 Tablespoons warm water) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup cocoa powder 3 cups all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1/4 teaspoon saltINSTRUCTIONS: 1.) Sift together (or gently stir with a whisk) the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 2.) With an electric mixer cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy. 3.) Beat in egg, coffee or liqueur, and vanilla.4.) Add in flour/cocoa mixture about 1 cup at a time. Blend until fully incorporated. (If you are using a hand mixer you may need to add the last cup of flour by hand). 5.) Divide dough into two or three large balls, place in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours (if you’re in a hurry, you can chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer).6.) Once chilled, work with one ball of dough at a time, and roll onto a lightly floured surface. I find it works best to place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough, and then roll on top of the parchment. This prevents the dough from sticking to your rolling pin, and you also don’t need to add as much extra flour (as you would without the parchment)."ROYAL ICING" INGREDIENTS: 4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (I use Wilton Brand) 4 cups (about 1 pound) powdered sugar 6 Tablespoons warm water (to start, see additional notes below) Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form.*Make sure all bowls and utensils are totally grease-free or your icing will never reach proper consistency. Spoon some of the thick white icing into individual bowls and add coloring (I use Americolor.)Add additional water, about 1 teaspoon at a time until you’ve reached the consistency you need. For these cookies you can used one consistency of icing for the whole design. Thin the icing with warm water until the icing is about the consistency of corn sryup, or slighly thicker. It should be thick enough that it does not run off the edge of the cookie, but thin enough that it will flow and fill in as you pipe.DIRECTIONS: 1. Prepare dough and cutout cookies with the larger of two egg shaped cookie cutters. Cut out and bake only large cookies. If you remove the center “cutout” before baking and bake just “outer rings” the “rings” will bake up larger than the large cookies that they need to be later matched to.2. When the cookies are baked, allow to cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then for half of the cookies, use the smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center of cookies. The cookies are quite delicate when they are warm. I would suggest pressing the smaller cutter into the baked cookies, but leave the center cutout intact until the cookies fully cool.Carefully move the cookies to a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool fully before removing the center cutout. If the outer “ring” breaks when removing the cutout, simply press back together and it can still be used. You can use a bit of royal icing to “glue” it together for use. I suppose there may be the question “what do you do with the inner cookie cutout?” Well, in our house with spread a bit of Nutella on them and they “disappeared."3. For each “cookie box” you will need two full cookies (large) and two cookie “rings” (large cookies that have had a the centers cut out). 4. Prepare royal icing. For the design shown I only made white icing. Feel free to prepare any colors you like. If you are concerned about the icing showing between the cookie layers, feel free to prepare some dark brown icing (although I had very little problem with the icing showing). If desired, you could also use melted chocolate to “glue” the layers together.5. Assemble the boxes by piping a thin “ring” of icing onto one of the large, full cookies. Add one cookie ring, then another line of icing and the second cookie “ring”. This completes the base of the “box”.6. Decorate the box “lid” (one full, large cookie) as desired. I decorated the tops of the cookies with a gingham pattern, just as I did with these Gingham Cookies. Hop over to that post for a full tutorial on the gingham pattern. I used Wilton Color Mist food coloring spray (available from most craft stores), but if you have an airbrush that would work just as well, or better. You can make a homemade stencil as I first did when I invented this technique, or now you can purchase stencils that are great to use again and again!This time around I used a stencil from The Cookie Countess (I used the “wide stripe”). 7. Simply place the decorated lid on top of the “box” and you’re done! Feel free to add a ribbon around the stack of cookies to hold the lid in place, if desired. If you’re extra observant you may notice that in a few of the photos (in this post) the candies are piled above the edge of the cookie “box”. In order to have the lid sit flat on the box, make sure all of the treats inside are below the rim.