Cream Cheese Roll-Out Cookies

This lightly spiced dough is a dream to work with. It rolls beautifully, holds its shape when baked and, best of all, tastes much more delicious than an ordinary sugar cookie, thanks to a hint of ginger and nutmeg. This dough also makes delightful Stained Glass Cookies (see "tips," below). 

Prep
30 mins
Bake
7 to 9 mins
Total
1 hr 39 mins
Yield
about 4 dozen 2" cookies
Cream Cheese Roll-Out Cookies

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: In a large bowl, beat together the shortening, butter, sugar, and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the spices, baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into quarters and place on pieces of parchment. Roll the dough 1/2" thick. Stack the pieces of dough (on their parchment) on a baking sheet, cover with plastic (or your favorite reusable wrap), and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  2. To cut and bake: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

  3. Lightly flour your work surface and work with one piece of dough at a time. Roll the dough 1/4" thick and cut into desired shapes; re-roll the scraps and cut additional shapes. This dough is quite forgiving; scraps can be gathered and re-rolled up to three times before getting tough. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. 

  4. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.

  5. To make the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of the milk in a medium bowl; the mixture should be thick. Add more milk a teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is the consistency of honey. It should fall off the spoon in a thick ribbon that disappears back into the bowl after a few seconds. Use to glaze the cooled cookies.

  6. Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 3 weeks; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For beautiful ornament-worthy cookies, roll the dough a little thicker (3/8"). Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use small cutters to make decorative cutouts in the parbaked cookies. Put colored candies (we've found Jolly Ranchers to be best for this) in a zip-top freezer bag and pound them to small bits with a rolling pin. Fill the cutouts in the cookies with crushed candy and return the cookies to the oven for another 4 to 6 minutes, until the candy is melted and the cookies are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the pan before moving.

  • Make-ahead tips: Make the dough and refrigerate up to three days before cutting and baking. Baked, unglazed cookies will hold for weeks in an airtight container (they taste even better after aging a little). Glaze the cookies just before you're ready to decorate them.