In a bowl with a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and confectioner's sugar until smooth.
Add enough milk or half and half to thin to desired spreading, drizzling, or pouring consistency. If you need your glaze thinner than 4 tablespoons of liquid will allow, very gently warm the glaze (10-second increments in the microwave, stirring in between) until your desired consistency is reached. Adding additional liquid beyond 4 tablespoons will make it more difficult for the glaze to set. Glaze that is slightly warm (not hot) will pour easily and then set up, particularly when it's refrigerated.
Pour or drizzle over your favorite baked goods. Glaze can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Gently warm to room temperature before using for a pourable consistency. Baked goods finished with cream cheese glaze should be refrigerated for storage.
Note that this glaze will set, but won't harden/crust like a basic powdered sugar glaze. It is not suitable for confections that would need to be stacked.See the FAQ section of the blog post for additional notes.
Citrus: Substitute 1-2 tablespoons fresh citrus juice for some of the milk (to taste). (Or, 1/4 teaspoon + pure citrus extract, to taste.) Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely-grated citrus zest. Cinnamon: Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.Spiked: Substitute 1/2 to 1 tablespoon rum, bourbon, or your favorite liqueur for some of the milk (to taste). Vanilla Bean: Substitute vanilla bean paste or scraped vanilla bean for the vanilla extract.