12 Days of Cookies: #12 Glazed Butter Cookies!


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:

#1 Marlow & Sons Shortbread

#2 Dorie Greenspan’s Linzer Sables

#3 Apricot Bow Ties

#4 101 Cookbooks Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies

#5 Almond-Anise Cookies

#6 Lebkuchen

#7 The Wednesday Chef’s Cardamom Cookies

#8 Mexican Chocolate Cookies

#9 Toasted Coconut Sables

#10 Orange-Almond Buttons

#11 Apple-Cranberry Rugelach

#12 Glazed Butter Cookies

27 comments to “12 Days of Cookies: #12 Glazed Butter Cookies!”

  1. It was fun following your 12 days. I’ve certainly bookmarked more than one of these 12 for my next round of cookie baking.

  2. I’m wondering about the glaze on these…does it harden? Basically, I’m looking for cookies that will ship well – will the glaze on these harden enough to ship? Thanks!

  3. These do look great! I agree – these types of cookies usually need some sort of “ooomph” and I bet the cream cheese does just that.

    Thanks for the 12 recipes – it’s been fun to check every day – not sure I would have been able to manage a post for 12 days straight! But – you’ve given me enough motivation to whip up a few batches of cookies for a work potluck – one definitely being mexican choco ;)

  4. What, no comment about how your amazing (and Jewish) friend Sarah inspired the star of david shapes?

  5. Hi Tara, these won’t ship well. The glaze does harden, but not enough to make shipping a good idea.

  6. Yes, Sarah, you inspired these cookies. Sorry I neglected to point that out.

  7. Amazing addition of the cream cheese to the cookies and frosting! I love cream cheese and will have to try this trick to a classic butter cookie. Thanks.

  8. Thanks for such an eclectic, enticing endeavor! Can’t wait to try several soon.

  9. Whew! You made it! ;) Seriously, kudos to you for undertaking what I know must have been a very time-consuming task. But, clearly, this series has been a labor of love. Such lovely photos, such yummy recipes! I’ve been feeling a bit bah-humbug lately, but your cookies posts have really helped put me in the holiday frame of mind. xo, Dawn

  10. p.s. – did you buy the crystal sugar on line? Or locally? It’s nice and sparkly.

  11. Hey Dawn! Thanks for all of the support. I got the sugar at a local grocery store but it is manufactured by King Arthur and available here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/sparkling-white-sugar-1-lb

  12. beautiful presentation…deliciously looking…thank you so much for sharing!

  13. My husband alerted me to your site via your recipe on Design*Sponge because he recognized my love of baking and distaste for boring cookies (and love of adding cayenne to most, if not all, things chocolate). Thank you so much for your fun and inspiring 12 days of cookies. I have been brainstorming what assortment would be best for passing out to neighbors and I have a feeling that more than one of your recipes will make the cut.
    I do have one question – do you think I could use homemade yogurt cheese or mascarpone instead of cream cheese or would they ruin the texture? Thanks! Happy baking and Merry Christmas!

  14. Hi Ginger, my advice is always to give it a try! As long as the cheese you are using has some tang, I think they will work out okay. Let me know what you discover…

  15. phew… what a run! It has been great. And, congrats on the Design Sponge spot!

  16. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!! Can’t wait to get busy baking.

  17. Hi! So, are you so tired of baking that I couldn’t coax you into baking up some of these wonderful cookies and delivering them to some working compatriots at an ad agency in Chicago? I live in Santa Fe so can’t do it myself:-) What a terrific site…..and recipes!

  18. I agree with the cream cheese addition to sugar cookies. Otherwise sugar cookies are way too sweet when you add the icing in. The other alternative is to add lemon rind in so the sweet bite is eased by the citrus. Looking forward to trying these out.

  19. Thanks for the great recipes! I look forward to perhaps adding a few to my ‘best of/repeat bake’ christmas cookie list. A question on this as well as the other recipes….would you be able to add the quantity yielded per recipe? I make cookie boxes as presents and would love to know how many cookies per batch. Happy holidays!

  20. Hi Casey! Thanks for the nice comment. I’ll try to do better job of adding yields to cookie recipes. I am sometimes reluctant to do this because they vary so much depending on how cookies are formed. These in particular are hard for me to say. Depending on the size of cookie cutter you use, you can get anywhere from 20-40 cookies out of this. I end up with around 28 using a 2 1/2-inch circle cutter.

  21. Dear Tim,
    Like some others, I came here via 101 cookbooks and fell for your 12 days of cookies idea and your great photos. I made the Mexican Chocolate ones, the rugelach, and now these wonderful butter cookies. All turned out wonderfully delicious. Thanks for culling these great recipes from all the Christmas cookie recipes out there. Happy holidays to you!

  22. Thanks, emm! I glad you are enjoying the cookies.

  23. thank you! i was looking for this recipe. love the site.

  24. since it was cool and rainy here today (so cal), i thought a comfort meal dinner was in order (chicken divan in the oven) with some delicious cookies for dessert. i was thinking shortbread but decided on these when i went looking for recipes to inspire me. i’m a bit nervous about the dough (now chilling) because it seems a bit on the dry side and i know i followed the recipe. so we’ll see. seriously though, even if they’re a bit crumbly i’m pretty sure i’ll still be able to choke ’em down – especially with the glaze :-)

  25. okay. they’re gorgeous and delicious! i didn’t have vanilla extract (actually am making my own but it won’t be ready until december!) so i used almond and used pure irish butter for the first time. a wonderful difference. also used seeds from two vanilla beans in the glaze. sigh….

  26. Hi Tim! I have to make a couple hundred of these for a wedding, so am doing it in advance. Do you think these would freeze okay with the glaze on them, or should I freeze the cookies plain and glaze them later? Opinion appreciated– thank you!

  27. Hey Nuala- Eeks! My guess is that the laze will not freeze well, but I have never tried. I would probably do a test batch and see what happens…but I think freezing the cookies and glazing later makes the most sense.

What do you think?