BEAT cream cheese, butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add flour and baking soda; mix well. Cover.
REFRIGERATE 30 min.
PREPARE and bake cookies following one of the following variations. They all look great on their own or arranged decoratively on a serving tray.
Mosaic Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut into assorted shapes using 3-inch cookie cutters. Place on foil-covered baking sheets. Sprinkle each cookie with 1 tsp. crushed ring-shaped hard candies. Press gently into dough. Bake as directed. Makes about 3-1/2 doz. or 21 servings, two cookies each.
Choco-Orange Cookies: Add 1 Tbsp. grated orange peel to dough. Shape into two 8x1-1/2-inch logs; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 min. or until edges begin to brown. Cool on wire racks. Drizzle with 4 melted squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate; let stand until set. Makes 5 doz. or 30 servings, two cookies each.
Spiced Cookies: Add 1 tsp. each ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground nutmeg. Refrigerate 30 min. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon; set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into balls. Roll dough in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on baking sheets. Flatten to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of glass dipped in the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 10 to 12 min. or until lightly browned. Makes about 3-1/2 doz. or 21 servings, two cookies each.
Almond Crescents: Add 1/2 tsp. almond extract and 1 cup finely chopped PLANTERS Slivered Almonds to dough. Refrigerate 30 min. Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape balls of dough into crescent shapes; place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake 10 to 12 min. or until lightly browned. Cool slightly on wire racks; sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Makes 5 doz. or 30 servings, two cookies each.