Sunday, December 6, 2009

Punitions with Rum Cream Cheese Icing

The chilly morning weather is rolling in and I am seriously finding it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. Seriously. You could be whippin' up a batch of cinnamony french toast and bacon and I'll still hesitate to get out from under the covers. It's just been one of those weekends where all you wanna do is snuggle inside your blanket, watch some awesome T.V. shows (*cough*THEFRINGE*cough*) and eat a lot of nice, warm, comforting, homey food.
Even though Christmas is coming, I really hardly feel like it is. It seems like the hype is so died down this year for everyone... But I'm still glad people are spreading the Christmas cheer anyway. That, and there is DEFINITELY no shortage of cookie making and consumption. No,
not at all.

Though I admit I was a total laze ball this weekend, I did manage to drag my butt out of bed and get some things done... And of course, those things came mostly in cookie form. Because it's Decemeber. And they can come in no other way but in cookie form.

I love these cookies because they are basic, simple, and still the bomb. Throw some snazzy cream cheesy icing on there that's been spiked with rum extract and you got yourself a class full of happy, hungry, cheery little kids all wanting to gobble these cute little snowmen up. And I don't blame them one bit!

Punitions, also known as "Punishment" cookies, are incredibly easy. You just mix flour, sugar, and butter together in the food processor, stick it in the fridge for a few hours, roll it out and cut it into traditional wedged circles or get all fancy-shmancy and use a snowman cut out. Your choice.

They're great on their own with a crumbly and snappy texture. But the icing really makes it even better. You really don't want to eat too many of these... they are truly for sweet tooths only. You know. The kind of people who can enjoy a few Hawaii'an sweet rolls with a good pat of butter on 'em.

Mmm. Hawaii'an sweet rolls...

Punitions (Punishment cookies)
(courtesy of smitten kitchen, adapted from Boulangerie Poilane, via Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan)

For cookies:

1 1/4 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
Slightly rounded 1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour

For rum cream cheese icing:
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon water (optional, for thinning)

1. Put the butter in the work bowl of a food processor* fitted with the metal blade and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the butter is smooth. Add the sugar and process and scrape until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the egg and continue to process, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the flour all at once, then pulse 10 to 15 times, until the dough forms clumps and curds and looks like streusel.

2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the ball in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap the disks in plastic. If you have the time, chill the disks until they are firm, about 4 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can roll the dough out immediately; it will be a little stickier, but fine. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

3. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (4 and 7 mm) thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can and place them on the lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) space between them. (You can gather the scraps into a disk and chill them, then roll, cut, and bake them later.)

5. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are set but pale. (If some of the cookies are thinner than the others, the thin ones may brown around the edges. M. Poilâne would approve. He’d tell you the spots of color here and there show they are made by hand.) Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.

6. For icing, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Add extract and corn syrup. Beat until combined. If icing is too thick (it should have a drizzly consistency) add teaspoon of water or milk as desired. Ice cookies and leave for icing to harden.

Do ahead: The cookies can be kept in a tin at room temperature for about 5 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 1 month.


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