Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1 (8 ounce) can almond paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg
2½ cups flour
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add almond paste, baking powder and salt; beat until well combined. Beat in egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough, half at a time, to an ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 2½-inch cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Reroll scraps as necessary. If desired, decorate unbaked cookies with sugar sprinkles or egg white "paint" before baking.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and just starting to brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Serve plain or, if desired, decorate plain cooled baked cookies with piped chocolate.
Additional Decorating Ideas:
Glazed Cookies: To decorate cookies with glaze, combine ½ cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon cornstarch, 1 drop of lemon or almond extract and enough milk to make a thin glaze. Brush over cooled cookies and sprinkle with finely shredded lemon peel.
Cookies with Colored Sugar Sprinkles: To decorate cookies with colored sugars, in a small bowl beat 2 egg whites and 1 tablespoon water together with a fork. Lightly brush on unbaked cookies. Sprinkle lightly with desired colors of sugar or edible glitter and bake as directed. You will need about 2 tablespoons total sugar or glitter for one batch of cookies.
Painted Cookies: In a small bowl, beat 1 egg white with desired-color food coloring until well combined. Use a new paintbrush or a clean paintbrush that is only used for food to lightly brush colored egg white over unbaked cookies. Bake as directed. Color will be more intense after baking.
Chocolate Piped Cookies: Melt 2 to 3 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate; cool slightly. Place in a small heavy resealable plastic bag. Snip a small tip off one corner of the bag. Pipe chocolate as desired onto cooled baked cookies. Let cookies stand until chocolate is set. Or melt 2 to 3 ounces white baking chocolate and, if desired, tint with paste food coloring. Cool slightly and pipe onto cookies.