Toasted Coconut Rum Shortbread Cookies

adapted from Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies

Yield:  approx. 2 1/2 doz. cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar, which has been pulsed in the food processor for about 20 seconds

1/4 tsp. salt

16 TBS. unsalted butter ( 2 sticks), cut into 16 1/2 inch pcs at cool room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. rum flavoring

2 TBS. ( 1 oz)  cream cheese, at room temperature ( I used reduced fat) 

For frosting:

1 TBS. ( 1/2 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature  ( I used reduced fat)

1 tsp. rum flavoring or vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 - 2 TBS. milk ( enough to thin frosting out to spread easily ) 

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in food processor, toasted in oven, and cooled

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle beater, mix flour, sugar and slat on low speed until combined.  With mixer running on low, drop in the butter one piece at a time slowly; and continue to mix until the mixture looks slightly wet and crumbly.  Add in the vanilla, rum flavor and the cream cheese and mix on low until he dough just comes together...and it magic! 

2.  With hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  ( or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray, but I prefer parchment for my cooking baking)   Bake once batch at a time in oven until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature. 

3.  In the same bowl as the cookie dough was made, with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until smooth.  Add in the confectioners sugar and choice of flavoring.  Slowly add milk to achieve a good spreading consistency.  

4.  Dip tops of cookies into frosting, or spread with a knife, and top with some toasted coconut.  Allow frosting to set before storing.  These cookies freeze well.