The sugar cookie recipe is adapted from Autumn Carpenter's Buttery Sugar Cookies recipe. I like to make the dough, refrigerate it overnight, then bake the cookies the next day.
Mix the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Add the sugar. Continue to mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the extract and food coloring.
Add the egg, mixing on low, until thoroughly blended. Scrape the bowl. Add the flour, one cup at a time. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Mix until just incorporated. Remove dough from bowl. If necessary, knead in any flour that did not get fully incorporated. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Flatted each into a patty about 1 1/2" thick. Wrap patties in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or until firm. (I like to refrigerate overnight then allow dough to sit at room temp for about an hour the next day before rolling.)
Preheat oven to 375°. Roll first batch of dough 1/8" thick. Cut out 12 pigs, 6 facing left and 6 facing right. Trim down noses if necessary. Place baking sheet, with pigs on it, in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove and place directly in oven and bake for 9-11 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Allow to cool completely.
Roll next batch of dough 1/4" thick. Cut out 6 pigs (it doesn't matter which direction this time). Remove legs and ears from pigs then use a circle cutter to remove center of pig. Refrigerate and bake as before. As soon as they come out of the oven, cut out a section of the top large enough for a candy coin to fit through. Allow to cool completely.
Cut out 6 pig noses, with a small round cutter, 1/4" thick. Bake these together, separate from the pig bodies as they will bake quicker. Start checking on them around 7 minutes. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, stir the powdered sugar and meringue powder together. With mixer on low, slowly add extract and water. Start with 1/4 cup water and then add only as much that is needed to get the icing to a thick, honey like consistency. Increase mixer speed to medium and whip icing for 2-4 minutes, until thick and fluffy and forms soft peaks.
Use a food writer pen to draw eyes and money signs on pigs and nostrils on noses.
Use food coloring to color icing pink. Place icing in a decorating bag fitted with a #6 round tip (or in a plastic sandwich bag with the corner sniped off.) Pipe icing around bottom of one inner pig body and attach to one outer body. Pipe more icing on to the top of the inner body and attach the opposite facing outer body.
Once dry, attach the nose with icing. Once nose is dry, support pig between two glasses and pipe a tail.
If necessary, use a microplane to file down the feet so that the pig stands firmly.
Have fun dropping candy money into your piggy bank.
*You could also use chocolate gold coins but you would probably have to just use the smaller sizes of them.