Gazed Butter cookies from America’s Test Kitchen
Butter Cookie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup superfine sugar (5 1/2 ounces) or 3/4 cup granulated sugar, that has been processed in a food processor 20 seconds (5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into sixteen half-inch pieces (or TBSP size pieces), at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees) [**Julie’s Note: the butter should be slightly firm, where you can cut/bend it, but soft enough that it blends easily]
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature [**Julie’s Note: the room temp here is very important]
Directions: Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 40 mins
FOR THE COOKIES:
Step 1 – Make the Dough
– In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, 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.
Step 2 – Prep the Dough for Baking
– 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. **Julie’s note: if you chill it overnight, you’ll have to let it thaw a bit before you can roll it out… it needs to be firm, but not tough.**).
Step 3 – Cut the Dough and Bake
– Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees.
– 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 in refrigerator until firm, about 10 minutes.
– While disk 1 is chilling, repeat with second disk.
– When you chill disk 2, pull out the first portion of rolled dough, and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) 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.
**Julie’s Note: America’s Test Kitchen says “Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled once.” I re-roll and re-chill and re-cut until everything is gone without noticing a huge difference in quality of the dough/cookie.
– Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.
(**Julie’s Note: I usually double the following glaze recipe so that I have lots of supply for the kids to decorate in a variety of colors)
1 tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature (very important that it’s room temp)
3 tablespoons milk (for thicker icing, use 2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (6 ounces)
Whisk cream cheese and 2 tablespoons milk in medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar 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. (**Julie’s Note: I have found that using the Kitchen Aid doesn’t impact the quality of the icing… do it by hand or use the electric..both work fine)