Buttercream Cream Cheese Frosting for Sugar Cookies

I developed this recipe by cobbling together several recipes I came across.  We used it at *N*'s fifth birthday party to decorate cookies.  It worked perfectly well, and I was glad to avoid the shortening that so many buttercream recipes call for - yet be able to have the "sturdiness" of the cream cheese to prevent the frosting from turning into a melted buttery mess.

It tasted good in that it was pretty standard frosting.  I was most interested in its functionality, however, and it delivered.  The night before the party, I used my mini ice cream scoop to put two Tablespoon-size balls of frosting in individual paper Dixie cups, thus making the serving of the frosting in the midst of the craziness much easier.

Update: I made a half-batch next time, and it was enough to cover about 30 sugar cookies, 2.5" in diameter.

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 Tablespoons half-n-half [or cream]
4 to 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
Food coloring [optional]

(1) In a large mixing bowl, soften butter & cream cheese almost to room temperature.
(2) Cream butter & cream cheese together until well blended.
(3) Add vanilla extract; mix thoroughly.
(4) Add 2 Tbsp half-n-half and food coloring.
(5) Add sugar, one cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Add additional food coloring if desired.
(6) Add remaining half-n-half if needed.

Kid Participation:
* Run mixer
* Dump ingredients into mixing bowl
* Constantly stick fingers into frosting and sample

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