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Holiday cookies: Day 12 — Painted Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies let you express your artistic side. After the cookies are cooled, they are painted with a glaze made from corn syrup, powdered sugar and food coloring.

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PAINTED SUGAR COOKIES

Start to finish: 4 hours (1 1/2 hours active)

Makes 20 cookies (using a 4-inch cookie cutter)

For the cookies:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup

2 tablespoons water

Food coloring

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each. Add the almond and orange extracts.

Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 F.

Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut cookies from the dough. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet, then bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until just golden around the edges.

Cool on a wire rack completely before painting.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar, corn syrup and water. Divide the mixture into several cups (depending on how many colors you want) and add food coloring as desired.

Use paint brushes to apply the glaze. When painting, stir regularly to avoid a mottled appearance when dry. You also can sprinkle with decorating sugars while the glaze is still wet. Allow to dry thoroughly before storing in an airtight container with parchment between layers.

(Recipe adapted from “The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion,” Countryman Press, 2004)

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