Monday, October 02, 2006

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

More cookies? Oh yeah! This cookie was a big hit last Christmas, with kids and adults alike. They are easy to handle, hold their shape, are easy to cut out with your best fancy cookie cutters, and have a light subtle taste, which stands up to all the decorations you can pile on. Depending on the size of the cutters, you can easily get about four to six dozen cookies from each batch. The dough can be made ahead of time and keeps well in the frige for about a week. It makes for a fun afternoon with friends, grandchildren, your own kids of any age, neighbor kids, or be creative and design your own cookie art all by yourself!

CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES - adapted from the Pillsbury Doughboy (hee-hee!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
1 package cream cheese 3 ounce size, softened at room temp.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Cookie decorations: colored sugars, frosting, royal icing, jimmies, sprinkles, dragees, etc. as desired

In the bowl of a KA mixer with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl, combine ALL ingredients EXCEPT flour and cookie decorations. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix well. Be careful not to overheat mixer by adding in flour a bit at a time. Scrape the bowl frequently while mixing. Shape dough into three disks. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap twice and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

When ready to bake cookies, heat oven to 375 degrees F and remove only one disk from the frige. Leave the other two in the frige until ready to work. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a rolling pin, starting at the center and rolling out, north to south, east to west, to about 1/8-inch in thickness. Place about 1/4 cup of flour onto a saucer. Dip cutter into flour and then cut out desired cookie shapes. With an offset spatula, place the cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Decorate with colored sugar, if desired.

Bake for about 6 to 10 minutes, check about halfway through the baking time and turn sheet pan back to front, to prevent overbrowning and oven hot spots, do not "burninate" these cookies (but they still taste good!). Gently remove from parchment paper onto cooling racks. You can use the parchment over again, allow pan to cool first, wipe off any cookie crumbs, then place next batch ready for baking. If desired, decorate cookies with frosting, royal icing, etc. when completely cooled.

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