Holiday Crem Cheese Cookies Four Ways

Ingredients

2 packages (8 ounces each) regular cream cheese, room temperature

16 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla (or any flavoring you wish)

4 cups flour, sifted

1/2teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts (or nuts of your choice)

1/2 cup finely chopped candied orange peel (optional, may use dried currents or chopped, dried cranberries)

1/2 cup orange marmalade (or jam of your choice)

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate candy melts

12 ounces white chocolate candy melts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and the butter together until fluffy.  Add the sugar beat another minute.  Add the vanilla and mix well.

Measure the flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and level off the top with the back of a butter knife.  Sift the flour and add to the cream cheese mixture a little at a time while mixing on low speed.

Divide the dough into 3 sections.  Remove one third of the dough and form into a disk.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Add the citrus peel and macadamia nuts to the other two sections as desired.  Shape those sections of dough into separate disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Roll out each disk on a lightly floured cutting board to about ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes.  Cut one disk into 1 ½ to 2 inch circles and one into 1 inch by 2 ½ inch rectangles.  Shape the remaining disk into small 1 ½ inch balls and press your thumb into the middle of each ball to make “thumbprint” cookies. 

Roll the sides of some of the thumbprints in chopped nuts.  Spoon a tiny bit of jam or marmalade into the center of the thumbprint. 

Bake the different shapes on separate pans so that they will cook evenly.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes depending on the size or thickness of the cookies.   Start checking the dough after 12 minutes.  Remove when lightly brown and cool on wire racks.

Melt the chocolate candy melts in separate bowls.

Dip the circle cookies into the dark chocolate and the rectangles into the white chocolate.

Place the remaining chocolates into separate plastic zip bags and place a tiny whole in one corner of each bag.  Use the chocolate in the bags to drizzle over the thumbprint cookies.  Let the chocolate “set up” then arrange on plates to give as gifts or set out for your family.

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