Cream Cheese Cookies

I’ve made cream cheese cookies, twice. But not like these.

If you like tangy cream cheese frosting and soft buttery cookies, you’re going to be in heaven.

Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

My previous cream cheese cookies use cream cheese in the dough as a partial butter replacement.

It adds a richness and creaminess to the dough that’s amazing, but I wanted to see if I could make a thumbprint-style cookie with cream cheese. Mission accomplished.

Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

The cream cheese stays slightly soft, gooey, and tastes much more like cream cheese frosting than it does like cheesecake because there’s no egg. There’s also no slightly dry, crumbly texture that cheesecake can have.

The dough base is a new favorite. As a happy accident I used a combo of light and dark brown sugar. I was scraping the bottom of my light brown sugar canister for the last one-quarter cup (I didn’t realize I went through 6 pounds of brown sugar in 10 days) and so I used some dark brown, too.

Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

Best decision ever because the cookies have a caramely, buttery, rich depth of flavor that’ll keep you coming back for more. Dark brown sugar has more moisture than light brown because it has more molasses, creating cookies are supremely soft, tender, and moist.

In addition to flour, I used graham cracker crumbs. Graham crackers and cream cheese just go hand in hand. The crumbs add another subtle layer of flavor and provide a tiny bit of texture.

Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

The batch only makes 9 cookies and each cookie is fairly large. While you could make the cookies smaller, by the ninth cookie you’ll be sick of smooshing the dough into thumbprint shapes and carefully adding the filling, so keep it easy on yourself and just make nine.

I loved the cookies. Some of the Best of 2014. The contrast of the tangy cream cheese frosting with the uber-soft caramely dough is ridiculously good. I hoarded these.

Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

Print Recipe

Cream Cheese Cookies

If you like tangy cream cheese frosting and soft buttery cookies, you’re going to be in heaven. The cream cheese stays slightly soft, gooey, and tastes much more like cream cheese frosting than it does like cheesecake. The cookies have a caramely, buttery, rich depth of flavor thanks to dark brown sugar. It has more moisture than light brown because it has more molasses, creating cookies are supremely soft, tender, and moist. Graham cracker crumbs add another subtle layer of flavor and provide a tiny bit of texture. Make sure to chill the dough before baking.

Yield: 9 large cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: about 12 minutes

Total Time: 3+ hours, for chilling

Ingredients:

Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used 1/4 cup of light and 1/4 cup dark)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon cornstach
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste

Cream Cheese Filling
6 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened (lite is okay)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Cookies - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars (highly recommend using some dark brown sugar), egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form 9 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and using your fingers, hollow out the center of each ball as if you were making thumbprint cookies. In doing so, the cookies will naturally flatten. Make sure not to go too deeply and punch through the bottom but go deep enough that each cookie will be able to hold 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling.
  4. Place mounds on a large plate or tray and place in the freezer while you wash the mixing bowl and make the cream cheese filling.
  5. Cream Cheese Filling - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the cream cheese, sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and creamed, about 4 minutes.
  6. Using a small spoon, equally distribute filling among dough mounds, smoothing the tops lightly with the back of the spoon or a spatula.
  7. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 6 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 12 minutes, or until edges have set and cream cheese is just set; don't overbake for soft cookies (bake a few minutes longer for firmer cookies). Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 15 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don't use a rack.
  9. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days (I'm comfortable storing items with baked cream cheese at room temp; store in the fridge if you prefer) or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

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67 comments

  1. I would hoard all of these, too! Graham cracker and cream cheese is an unbeatable combo. Now you’ve put them into a cookies – I’ll be swooning for days over these! Have a great weekend, Averie!

  2. I kind of forgot about thumbprint cookies so I love how you’ve changed things up a bit. The graham crackers are a nice touch– these seem like a little nod to cheesecake even if the filling tastes more like frosting. This is a really cool and creative cookie Averie!

  3. I love cream cheese in or on anything! This is genius! Crazy good cookies and totally worth running extra for, Averie!

  4. I never would have thought the combo of cream cheese and graham crackers would sound good together, but in a cookie form, it sounds like it would go great together. These look delicious and I usually always have these ingredients in my pantry!

  5. I love desserts that use cream cheese! These cookies look fantastic! Love that you recommend making nine but big cookies. These will go fast here. Pinned!

  6. What a great combination, graham crackers and cream cheese, these cookies are beautiful! Pinned, they need to be seen by more people!!!

  7. Me, please! One for me! (Or three or four…)

  8. How I never tried this combo before in my cookies is just beyond me. That’s an awesome thumbprinting idea–I love it even more than my jam ones! Bookmarked for sure.

  9. Oh my goodness, I love the additional of graham cracker crumbs in the dough. Genius!

  10. These look great! I feel like pumpkin would be great added to the cookies as well. Fun post!

  11. I love thumbprint cookies but for some reason I only make them at Christmas. These look insanely good..I like that the batch only makes 9 because I’m not sure how much sharing I would do. The cream cheese thumbprint would be great with so many cookie bases the ideas are endless…you’re a genius.

    • I was thinking after I made these that there are SO many ways to go…tp basically make thumbprints out of any kind of cookie base, I mean why not :) That center is like a jelly-filled donut…it just makes the whole thing THAT much better when you’ve got that gooey, juicy factor going on!

  12. You really can’t go wrong with cream cheese! These looks fantastic and perfect to curb my sweet tooth :)

  13. I love cookies with icing. What an amazing idea to make it taste like cheesecake. Looks delicious, love your creative recipe ideas! Pinned!

  14. These cookies look so good, I want to eat them for breakfast. Thanks for this recipe.

  15. Do I have to share? I can bake these and hide them for myself, correct? Wow, these look awesome! PINNED :)

  16. Mmmmmmm. I love the texture & flavor of baked goods with cream cheese! These are a must try :)

  17. Okay, I saw this yesterday and my phone wouldn’t let me comment, so I had to come back because OMG you are a genius Averie! What an amazing idea! Love them, pinned!

  18. Craving cookies right now!

  19. Love the addition of graham cracker crumbs. I also love when kitchen substitutions end up working better than the intended ingredient.

  20. Hi Averie! :) I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for about 2 years now, and have finally started up my own blog (thanks to the inspiration of incredibly talented bloggers like yourself! :) ) I love this recipe! After a long week at work, I could definitely indulge in some cream cheese cookies… good for the soul :)

    As always, looking forward to your posts :)
    Hope you had a lovely weekend!

  21. CREAM CHEESE and cookies?! Really? Yum. I love the way you think ;)

  22. These sound fantastic!!! I bet adding a little melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture could make them like chocolate cheescake thumbprint cookies…

  23. Oh yum! I’m pretty sure I would gobble these up in a split-second!!

  24. I basically believe there should be cream cheese in EVERY recipe, so yeah… gonna need to make these. :)

  25. “If you like tangy cream cheese frosting and soft buttery cookies, you’re going to be in heaven.” That’s me!!!!

  26. You’re killing me. These look delectable!

  27. I love these! I’ve made cream cheese cookies before with it mixed in but I really need to try these with it concentrated in the middle.

  28. I just made these and they were lovely! I love dark brown sugar so I made it all dark brown sugar. I noticed that mine stayed pretty much uniform in surface texture, whereas yours were more craggy which I love in cookies. Do you think it was because of that? I also baked them straight from the fridge.

    • Thanks for trying these and the crinkly/craggly factor…you know, that is a bit of an unknown to me why that happens in certain recipes more than others. It’s a function of the sugar type and amount, in relation to the flour, in relation to the leaveners, eggs, etc. Every single ingredient matters and it’s SUCH a delicate baking science balance. But I often do think about this phenomenon, in general. But I can’t really say what exactly to do or not do, to create it! I will say that some of mine were more crinkly than others, don’t ask me how that happened either! Glad you enjoyed them!

  29. I made these in time to watch Scandal last night;lets just sat these cookies plus a cold glass of milk and Scandal = a perfect night. I’ve tried many recipes from this website and they’ve al turned out great!!!! Can’t wait to try more.

  30. I love the cream cheese filling, these look incredible!

  31. Hello Averie, the recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups flour, do I need to sift the flour?

  32. After they’re baked and cooled down, can they be stacked up without the top cookies sticking to the cream cheese at the bottom?

  33. ooo, these look so tаsty!

  34. Great recipes just want to ask something…
    Could the cheese cookies be made with blue cheese (I love how it melts)? 

    • I haven’t tried it that way so can’t say for sure – either based on texture/melting situation or the flavor. Blue cheese in cookies would be a very intriguing flavor combo!

  35. Great recipe thanks for sharing :)

  36. I will try with cocoa butter!

  37. These looks great :) <3

  38. I want to try the banana bread!

  39. These look amazing! Is there any substitution for the graham crackers? I am allergic to them! (s0y).  Thanks!

  40. Hello Averie,
    The recipe for cookies is awesome! I will try to prepare it for my family asap! Thank you for sharing <3 
    Kisses,
    Catherine

  41. I think that the recipe is great
    I tried it but with a little bit cacao added ;)

  42. I discovered your site quite by accident.  I always thought that I was not a cookie person but … Boooyyyyy!!! You’ve converted me.  I’ve only tried the pretzel chocolate chip cookie.  The pretzel is a genius way of adding crunch and saltiness without nuts even though I love nuts.   Even my nephew who is picky ask me to make another batch entirely for him.  The downside is I think I ate way past my quota. Ha! Ha,.  I’m now on a cookie making mission and exited to see what else you have to share. Love your ideas Averie.

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