- 2 cups room-temperature butter
- 8 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Place butter and cream cheese into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat well with a mixer, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla and continue mixing for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Transfer the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape dough into a flat disc, and wrap well. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight. To cut out cookies, remove dough from refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Dip cookie cutters in flour and cut out shapes. Place cutouts onto the prepared baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake at 350° F for approximately 10 minutes, or until cookies are firm to the touch but not browned. Allow them to cool completely before icing.
Before the flood icing dries, use a second color to pipe dots onto the cookie. Drag a toothpick from directly above a dot through the dots to create hearts. This technique can also be used to create a heart border: Pipe evenly spaced dots around the outside of a cookie and drag a toothpick through them while slowly rotating the cookie. For a zigzag pattern, pipe evenly space parallel lines across the cookie. Drag a toothpick across the cookie, perpendicular to the lines; alternate toothpick lines, some starting at the top of the cookie, and others starting at the bottom. To pipe words on a cookie, use a slightly thicker icing; wait until the initial icing coat sets up (about 2 hours) before piping words. Once cookies are dry (at least 4 hours), store in a sealed container for 4 to 5 days. Freeze leftover royal icing in a sealed container. Re-whip before using.
*Note: Find piping bags, gel food color, and meringue powder in the cake decorating section of many grocery stores, craft stores, and online. If meringue powder is not available, check out the recipe for royal icing in the December edition of Oklahoma Living and thin icing to flood consistency as described above by adding water, a little at a time.