Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. They’ll be slightly browned and you’ll be able to smell them. Set aside.
Cream the butter, Crisco and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated. Mix in the extracts.
In a food processor, grind the almonds into fine crumbs. Then whisk together with flour, baking powder and salt.
On low speed, mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in three batches, until just incorporated. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least two hours. You can also chill the dough overnight, but it will need to sit out for about 15 minutes before you can roll it.
Roll out half of the chilled dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch think. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and transfer them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Don’t put more than 12 cookies on a pan.
Re-roll the scraps until you’ve used up the dough and then roll out the remaining chilled dough. The number of cookies this recipe yields depends on the size cookie cutter used.
Chill each sheet of cookies in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 6 to 7 minutes. The middles should look soft but not wet and doughy. Larger cookies will need 7 minutes and smaller cookies will only need 6.
Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. Cream the butter and Crisco until smooth. Mix in half of the powdered sugar on low speed. Then add the milk, heavy cream, 1 tsp of almond extract and the remaining powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until just combined and then beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add up to 1 more tsp of almond extract, according to taste. I used 1 ½ tsp. Double the frosting recipe if you plan on using large piping tips like Wilton tip 1M to decorate. Add food coloring as desired.
Decorate as desired and store in an airtight container in the freezer for optimum freshness.