Substitute for dough to "sit overnight"?

We have an old family recipe for Christmas cookies that require the cookies to sit overnight after they have been cut from the dough. Apparently, this is required to get the desired shape and texture; when baked, the cookies puff up like little pillows and then crack open, spilling some dough onto the cookie sheet. It seems that the outside of the cookie must dry out, while the interior must have some moisture remaining to get the desired effect.

I've been handed the task of continuing the family tradition and I'd like to update it so I don't have to worry about today's bacteria growing overnight (much worse than the bugs 100+ years ago when they started this). Does anyone have a suggestion for easily and quickly drying out the outside of the cookie without drying out the interior? Thanks!

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