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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Did you make this recipe?

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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