Remember when I mentioned the millions of Christmas cookies I would help my Dad bake every year? This was one of our staples. Every year, I’d help cut these out, and my brother and I would decorate them. Eventually, I started making these on my own, and have since used them for everything from beach vacations (hello sea creature cookies!), to baby showers, wedding festivities, graduation celebrations, football parties, and most recently, our new pastor’s installation reception. Because he and his family were new to Minnesota, I wanted to welcome them to our state with this lovely cookie. Plus, it was a great excuse to add another cookie cutter to my ever growing collection.
To decorate these, I used royal icing. Occasionally I’ll use a vanilla buttercream, but if I’m making them for an event, I take the extra time to use royal icing. You can use whatever icing type you like best! Bake at 350 has some wonderful tutorials on making royal icing, coloring, and decorating with it, so I suggest you pop on over there! I use her recipe and it has never failed me.
Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies
3/4 C. shortening
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
In large bowl, beat the shortening and cream cheese until well combined. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract; beat well. In small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to cream cheese mixture; beat until well mixed. Divide dough in half. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1.5 hours. This can be refrigerated a few days in advance as well, or frozen for a later date.
Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough, half at a time, to 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Decorate to your heart’s content!
Adapted from Treasury of Christmas Cookies