I hope you guys have enjoyed the 12 Days of Cookies as much as I did. It has been a blast! I think I will be putting my cookie sheets away for a little while—we both need a rest.
For the final cookie I chose one of my favorites, and a holiday classic, a shaped and decorated butter/sugar cookie. My problem with these types of cookies is that they are too sweet and kind of one note. What is great about this recipe is that the addition of cream cheese into both the dough and the glaze provides a little bit of sourness to counter the sugar. The dough is so easy to make and roll out that there is no excuse not to try these. If you are short on time or just feeling lazy, you can certainly form the dough into a log and slice and bake the cookies as needed.
Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this event (Dorie, Heidi, Luisa, Avery, Grace, Kristina!) , I could not have done it without you! Thanks to all of you for spending time on the site, especially those of you who were checking in every day! I’ll be back soon with NOT a cookie recipe.
Glazed Butter Cookies (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar (5 1/2 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter , ( 2 sticks) cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese , at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (6 ounces)
COOKIES: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix flour, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 °F. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets parchment paper; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.
Working with first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters and place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. (Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled once.) Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.
GLAZE: Whisk cream cheese and 2 tablespoons milk in medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar and salt until smooth, adding remaining milk as needed until glaze is thin enough to spread easily. Drizzle or spread scant teaspoon glaze with back of spoon onto each cooled cookie, as desired.
The 12 Days of Cookies:
#6 Lebkuchen 
#12 Glazed Butter Cookies