3 ½ cups all purpose flour (440 g), plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
royal icing, for decorating
5 holiday cookie cutters, 3 inch (7.5 cm) each, of your choice
red and white striped twine
How to Make It
Make the cookie dough: In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar with an electric hand mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes, until fluffy and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to beat evenly.
Add the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Add the salt, then sift in the flour, baking powder, and cream of tartar and fold with a rubber spatula to incorporate.
Divide the dough into 2 portions and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3–4 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece out into a 10-inch (25 cm) round about ¼-inch (½ cm) thick, then trim the edges so you have an 8 x 10-inch (20 x 25 cm) square. Transfer the dough squares to the prepared baking sheets.
Working with one dough square at a time, dip a holiday cookie cutter in flour and press into the dough. Repeat with the other 4 cookie cutter shapes, evenly spacing the cutouts. Remove the cookie cutters, then use a sharp paring knife to make cuts outside of each shape, forming a puzzle-like pattern from each corner.
Using an icing tip, cut out an ornament hole from the top of each cookie shape and all of the puzzle pieces. Separate all of the shapes, spacing evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 10–12 minutes, or until the edges just barely start to turn golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Decorate the cookies as desired then allow the icing to set completely. Thread a piece of twine through each ornament hole and tie to secure.