Preparation / Directions:
Preparation time: 20 minutes Chilling time: 4 hours Baking time: 10 minutes
1. Put flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, salt, almond extract and egg into large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix together, using low speed. Dough will be crumbly. Then knead dough with hands until mixture holds together.
2. Remove 1/3 cup of the dough; wrap and refrigerate. Divide remaining dough in thirds. Using hands, roll each into a 6-inch log.
3. Put sugar crystals on a sheet of wax paper. Roll each log in the sugar crystals to coat well; use the wax paper as a guide to press in crystals. Shape each log into a triangle, pressing gently on wax paper to give three sharp corners. Make sure to make 2 sides longer than the third side. Wrap each log well and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. To this point, cookies can be made up to a week in advance.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. To bake, slice logs crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Put slices about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. For each cookie, shape about 1/2 teaspoon of the reserved 1/3 cup dough into a tree trunk. Attach to bottom underside of each tree. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with candy decorations, if desired. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove to wire racks. Cool completely.
Note: The logs can be divided and shaped into 3 sizes and sliced to form a 3-tiered tree. These second-place winning cookies are easily shaped into trees that are edged with glittery green sugar.