by Sara Mead
When I think Christmas cookies, I always think first of decorated sugar cookies–cut into holiday shapes and lavished with icing, colored sugar, and festive decors. And these just came out pretty as a picture–the perfect picture to end my holiday cookie adventures.
My past efforts to make decorated holiday sugar cookies haven’t always ended as I would have liked, and these–a cream cheese sugar cookie dough with a simple version of royal icing–still aren’t my dream of a thick puffy cookie topped with layers of fluffy frosting. But the cream cheese in the cookie dough and the little bit of almond extract in the icing work very nicely together. Once I got my mind around to the fact that these were a different kind of cookie–thinner, cream cheese flavored, with hard, shinny icing rather than frosting–I was thrilled with the results. I may actually be a thin cookie with icing convert now! The icing in particular is a keeper that I’ll definitely be using on future occasions. Recipes and more pictures after the jump.
Merry Christmas, everyone: May your dreams be filled with sugarplums, your home filled with family, friends, and laughter, and your holidays filled with delicious cookies!
Here’s the cream cheese sugar cookie recipe I used:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough for 8 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Leave cookies plain for frosting, or brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with candy sprinkles or colored sugar.
- Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light and golden brown. Cool cookies completely before frosting.
This is the icing recipe I used, FWIW–I didn’t actually follow it, though. Instead, I mixed 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar into about 1 Tablespoon milk (adding the sugar slowly into the milk to make a paste), then added a Tablespoon of corn syrup, and more milk in small amounts until I got an icing that felt thin enough to spread (I actually made the icing quite thin–as you can see looking at the drips on the base of the Christmas tree above–but it hardened up beautifully after icing, and created the kind of thin, hard layer you find on the white part of a perfect black and white cookie. I actually think this cookie recipe and icing recipe, would make the start of a great black and white cookie, and will probably try something like that later in the new year.)