3/4 cups (180 milliliters) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups (360 milliliters) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) vanilla extract
4 cups (1 liters) flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 milliliter) salt
Royal icing – stiff-consistency:
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) meringue powder
4 cups (1 liter) icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) lemon juice
6-7 tablespoons (90-105 milliliters) water
Food colouring, your choice of colours
Royal icing – flood-consistency:
Royal icing – stiff consistency (see above)
3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) water, for thinning
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and keep beating until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture, mixing to incorporate. Turn the dough out onto the counter and flatten into a disc. Cover and refrigerate two hours. Roll out chilled dough into a thin, even sheet of cookie dough.
Cut: two squares, each 12 x 12 centimeters – these will be the top and bottom of the box; two rectangles, each 6.5 x 11.5 centimeters – these will be two facing sides of the box; two rectangles, each 6.5 x ten centimeters – these will be two facing sides of the box; five small circles, 1.25 centimeter round – these will be the feet and handle of the box; Cut the remaining dough into rounds, for cookies. For smaller cookies, bake at 350 F (180 C) for 8-12 minutes or until golden. For larger pieces, bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
To prepare the stiff-consistency icing, add meringue powder and icing sugar to a bowl. Add lemon juice and whisk in. Add water and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Divide into bowls and add desired colours. To create flood-consistency icing, add water to stiff-consistency icing and thin. Put each icing colour or consistency into separate piping bags.
Start icing one side of one of the rectangle sides by tracing a thin line around the perimeter of the cookie in stiff-consistency icing. Fill in with flood-consistency icing, using a toothpick to pull the icing to fill in any holes. Let dry, then decorate by piping designs using stiff-consistency icing. Repeat with the three other side rectangles, as well as one square, and one of the small circle cookies. Reserve the last square blank with no icing – this will be the bottom of the box and it is not necessary to decorate it.
With the blank square (the bottom), use stiff-consistency icing to “glue” four of the non-decorated small circle cookies to the bottom to create feet.
With the decorated square (the lid), use stiff-consistency icing to “glue” the decorated small circle cookie to the top to create a handle for the lid.
Once the iced rectangle sides have dried, use the stiff-consistency icing to glue them to the bottom of the box and to each other using stiff-consistency icing, with their decorated sides facing out. You will want to place them so that they all of the sides have a height of six centimeters, but the sides alternate between ten centimeters and 11.5 centimeters in width so that they connect together. Use a leaf tip and the stiff-consistency icing to pipe a border down the outside edges of the box to cover the joints.
Decorate the round cookies as desired, and let dry. Put the cookies in the box and place the “lid” on top.