Step 1: Make your cookie dough the night before. This recipe works great and makes delicious cookies.
Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
Barely adapted from Blonde Designs
Yields a dozen or so cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1. Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy; add sugar and mix.
2. Add egg, salt, and vanilla; mix well.
3. Add flour. Be careful to not overmix. Wrap dough in plastic and chill several hours or overnight. Remove from fridge an hour or two before you’re ready to use it so it’s easier to roll.
4. Roll out on floured surface and cut out cookies (keep on thicker side). Bake on ungreased sheet at 375 degrees until edges begin to barely brown (about 10-12 minutes). Cool completely and frost.
Step 2: While your cookies are cooling, prepare the royal icing. Royal icing dries hard to the touch which makes it wonderful for cookie decorating. When you’ve finished whipping it up, remember to split it into a few small bowls if you plan on decorating with different colors.
From Martha Stewart
2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, or more to thicken icing
1 lemon, juiced
1. Beat the whites until stiff but not dry.
2. Add sugar and lemon juice; beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar.
3. Add food coloring if desired (I am partial to this icing color gel which produces the most vibrant colors by using just the teeniest amount). The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Step 3: Fill a ziploc bag with icing, cut the very tip off (careful not to cut too much off so you can have greater control over the icing flow) and pipe a border around the cookie.
Step 4: Place some of the icing in another small bowl and add a tiny bit of water to dilute it. You want it to be slightly runnier so that it spreads easier across the cookie. Place this icing in another ziploc bag and cut the very tip off. Squeeze some haphazardly over the center of the cookie.
Step 5: Use the back of a spoon to smooth it out and “flood” the cookie with icing, pushing it out to the border. Let it dry completely.
Step 6: Put the finishing touches on your cookies. This is the fun part! I turned mine into spring chicks and fluffy sheep.