Monday, December 10, 2012

{Recipe} Cream Cheese Rolled Sugar Cookies

I am constantly on the quest for the perfect sugar cookie.
Sort of like how some people quest for self-truth and spiritual enlightenment. I have a similar journey with the sugar cookie.
You see, I am not a huge fan of crispy cookies (though I never met a cookie I didn’t try… at least once). My preference is always a soft cookie. However, that is often limiting when it comes to the decorating because most soft sugar cookie recipes also have “soft” frosting… i.e. the sink your teeth into, can feel the cavities forming, bakery style buttercream variety. You know the type… it’s also often sold in tubs for eating with a spoon use with boxed cake mixes. This is rather challenging when you’re trying to stack all of those darling frosted cookies you’ve just spent hours decorating into the equally darling little tins to give as gifts. Often, with the soft frosting, this forms what we know as cookie hash… AKA a literal tin of frosting and baked cookie all stuck together—physically impossible for a human to tactfully pull apart into individual cookies, so a spoon is a necessary tool here as well.
This should attempt to be avoided.
I’m also not a fan of the hard as a rock, chip your front tooth, could be used as commercial grade spackle icing. While this kind definitely makes stacking cookies a little easier, it would be nice to deliver a cookie that wouldn’t survive a nuclear holocaust.
You see the dilemma.  
This past weekend, I felt inspired by the cookies & cocktails party to create some festive snowflake sugar cookies to be given as a hostess gift. I baked up these tasty little treats using ingredients from the refrigerator, and planned to ice them the following day. I ended up having to miss the party, due to a still unknown illness (with allergies as the likely culprit) but these were too yummy not to share!

The cream cheese in the cookie makes for a soft, but firm base. I eliminated the powdered sugar in the dough, and replaced it with regular granulated sugar. Since the icing was really sweet, I didn’t want to overpower the cookie. The corn syrup additive in the royal icing creates more of a glaze which hardens as it dries, but remains soft enough that you won’t injure yourself when taking a bite. I whipped up a second batch of frosting to tint an icy blue color and used a plain old gallon baggie with a snip at the end for piping. Give this recipe a try!

Click here for a printable PDF version of this recipe!

{Cream Cheese Rolled Sugar Cookies}
Recipe modified from Better Homes & Gardens Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe
½ C. Butter, softened
1 (3 oz.) Pkg. Cream cheese, softened
1 C. Granulated sugar, plus more for decorating
½ Tsp. Baking powder
¼ Tsp. Salt
1 Large egg
2 Tsp. Vanilla extract
2 ½ C. All-Purpose flour
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds, or until well combined.
  • Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
  • Spoon in flour, a little at a time, beating as much as possible using the electric mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
  • Cover dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
  • Lightly flour work surface and roll out cookie dough to ¼ thickness. Using whatever holiday cookie cutter your heart desires, dip edges of cookie cutter into flour and dust off excess. Cut shapes from dough. Re-roll scraps as needed.
  • Place cookie dough cutouts approximately 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are a light, golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. Decorate using icing recipe below.
Royal Icing
1 C. Powdered sugar  
1 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tbsp. Light corn syrup
Food coloring
  • Whisk all three ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. If icing is too thick, add milk a little at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
  • Using a frosting knife, smooth icing onto cookie. While icing is still wet, sprinkle the top with granulated sugar. Once icing has hardened (about 30 minutes), tint any leftover icing using food coloring to desired color and pipe designs to personalize.
  • Store cookies in a covered, air-tight container.

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