"While using royal icing, I saw how it peeled off parchment paper just like the candy buttons from the 1950's. This inspired me to give candy buttons a try. As a child it was a good buy for a penny, and quantity was important."
Cut 10 strips of parchment paper, 2-inches wide by 16-inches long.
Sift confectioner's sugar and meringue powder together in a bowl; beat in water and vanilla extract until smooth.
Divide sugar mixture evenly into three bowls; beat in small amounts of different food coloring paste into each bowl until desired color has been achieved.
Place a #3 pastry tip into end of pastry bag; fill with one of the tinted sugar mixtures. Pipe buttons about the size of a penny onto parchment strips, 3 rows across. Repeat with remaining tinted sugar mixtures. Dry until buttons are hard, about 8 hours.