This is pretty by-the-numbers stuff, however this dough is quite soft, so a little extra tenderness is required. Begin by placing your dry ingredients in a mixer bowl (you can make this recipe by hand if you wish) and stir them to combine, about 30 seconds.
When the dry ingredients are mixed, begin to add your soft butter, about an ounce at a time, while continuing to stir on low.
When all the butter is incorporated, the mixture should look crumbly and moist. Now add your room-temperature cream cheese and vanilla:
Stir on low another 30 seconds until a dough comes together.
Remove the dough to a floured surface, knead it slightly…
…and pat it into a disk about six inches across. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate at least half an hour, for a maximum of three days.
When ready, roll the dough. If it’s very cold and stiff, you’ll want to knead it a bit (but only a bit) until it becomes pliable. On a sheet of parchment paper, roll the dough into a sheet a little less than 1/4″ thick, making sure the parchment and the pin are floured reasonably well.
Cut the dough sheet into whatever shapes you wish.
Using an offset spatula, gently pick up the cookies…
…and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake 5-7 minutes more until the edges of the cookies are only very lightly browned.
Cool while you prepare your colored icings for decorating!