Standing in the grocery line up, way back in May, 2001, I saw a Better Homes and Gardens: Creative Home magazine with perfectly iced cookies on the cover. They were smooth, glossy and not stuck to each other. What the actual fuck? How in the hell was this perfection achieved if not by witchcraft? I was, at the time, the queen of the hot mess Christmas cookies, and if Pinterest Fail had been a thing back then, I would have had a board dedicated to my icing disasters. I bought the magazine, and I will tell you the secret for free. It was not in fact achieved through “eye of newt and toe of frog,” but through the equally mystical magic of meringue powder! The only thing that took longer than the twenty plus years to learn this secret, was to actually find meringue powder in my small town. I finally resorted to begging some off of the baker at Save On Foods but now you can find it for sale in WalMart with the Wilton cake supplies.
The cookies themselves are perfection. I no longer even make sugar cookies or shortbread (unless it’s cake style in a pan). They taste great and the dough is super easy to work with once you take it out of the fridge! I’ve used the recipe so many times in the last sixteen years (oh my god, it’s been sixteen years!) that the magazine opens itself up to the correct page and is covered in grease stains and floury fingerprints. – R. Dolly
Since it was a spring issue, they call the cookies Bloomin’ Cookies, but I just call them cream cheese cookies so people don’t think I’m swearing like an old lady when they’re in the shape of a Santa.
Cream Cheese Cookies
- 1 Cup of margarine or butter
- 1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a mixing bowl, beat margarine or butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until softened. Add about half of the flour, the sugar, egg, baking powder and vanilla to the margarine mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Then beat or stir in the remaining flour.
- Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 3-24 hours or until easy to handle. On a lightly floured surface roll each portion of dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 2 ½ to 3 ½ inch shapes
- Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake in a 375° oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned
- Carefully remove cookies and cool on wire rack.
Makes about 36 Cookies, but will depend on the size of cookie cutouts you use.
Meringue Powder Glaze
With a fork, beat together 2 tablespoons of meringue powder, ¼ cup warm water, and 2 cups sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually stir in about 1 ½ cups additional sifted powdered sugar to make a smooth glaze that is spreadable but not runny. (It should have a flowing consistency and be too thin to hold ridges when spread.) Divide glaze; tint with paste food colour as desired.
Makes about 1 cup.
I used the Fred and Friends, Day of the Dead cookie cutters which fit the theme perfectly and can be bought on amazon.ca or .com.