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  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Get out two cookie sheets; they don't need to be greased. If you're making shaped cookies using a cookie press, (e.g., spritz cookies), chill the cookie sheets as you make the dough.

  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, cream cheese, salt, vanilla, and spices.

  3. Beat in the egg yolk, then stir in the flour.

  4. If you're using a cookie press, follow the directions that come with the press to pipe cookies onto the baking sheets.

  5. Or drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto the baking sheets; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.

  6. Top with colored sugar, if desired.

  7. Bake the cookies for 10 to 16 minutes, until they're brown around the edges.

  8. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool. Be sure to move the cookies to a rack before they're totally cool, as otherwise they may stick to the pan.

Tips from our Bakers

  • To give these cookies a creamy, citrus-y flavor, omit the spices (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice or clove), and replace 1 teaspoon vanilla extract with ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia flavoring. You could also add the very finely grated zest of one whole orange and/or lemon to your dough.

  • With its similar yet slightly more robust list of spices, our Yuletide Cheer Spice is a great substitute for the cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice or clove in this recipe.