(Image credit: Leela Cyd)
When I think back to the cookie trays of my youth, so many good recipes come to mind. But the ones that stand out are the perfectly round and pillowy cream cheese cookies I always looked forward to. Dressed up with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, these tender cookies just might remind you of super-soft sugar cookies, with a subtle tang that makes them all their own.
Sugar Cookie Meets Cheesecake
These are my favorite kind of holiday cookies. They’re simple, easy enough to tackle on a weeknight, and irresistibly delicious. Consider them proof that you don’t need to bake something fancy or elaborate to make a memorable holiday cookie. They’re sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, so they will be adored by anyone who enjoys a good sugar cookie with a little something extra. Cream cheese is blended with softened butter to impart a creamy tang and an extra-soft texture.
Make Ahead and Freeze
These cookies are easy to make ahead and freeze: Just form the dough into little balls, freeze, and bake when you need them. Best of all, they can be baked straight from the freezer with an extra minute or two added to the bake time.
Creamy Cheesecake Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
Place the butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat at medium speed until lightened in color and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed until just combined.
Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside.
Using a spoon or cookie scoop, measure 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough from the bowl. Roll between the palms of your hands to form a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart, 12 per baking sheet.
Bake for 4 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies are light golden-brown on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes more.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a flat spatula to transfer to them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, lightly dust the cookies with the powdered sugar.
- Make ahead: The dough can be made, formed into balls, and frozen directly on the baking sheet. Store the frozen cookie dough balls in freezer zip-top bags or an airtight container for up to 3 months. Bake frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to the bake time.
- Storage: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.