Cooking From Every Angle

Cream Cheese Cookies

By • September 30, 2011 • 58 Comments

Cream Cheese Cookies

- Merrill

With the exception of Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos, my mother made most of the sweet treats in our house growing up. I've written about her chocolate chip cookies, her banana bread and her white chocolate snowflakes, but I realized that in all the years I've been writing about food -- and poaching her recipes -- I've never written about what is perhaps her most iconic cookie. Her cream cheese cookies are revered not just among my immediate family members -- they're probably my mother's most requested recipe. Countless family friends have incorporated these into their repertoires over the years, and for good reason.

The cookies couldn't be easier to make, which makes them ideal for last-minute bake sales or houseguests. They're chewy in the center, where the texture is kind of like a coconut macaroon, with buttery, burnished edges that crumble like a sandcastle gently collapsing. The cream cheese gives the cookies a nearly unidentifiable tang that keeps you reaching for just one more.

My favorite part, though? My mother got the recipe at a Tupperware party in the 70s. One of the women brought a batch of the cookies with her, and at the end of the party she dictated the ingredients and instructions to all of the other guests. Who knows how many subtle variations of this recipe exist today, legendary among countless other families?

Cream Cheese Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

Adapted from Veronica

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Like this post? See Merrill's post from last week: Concord Grape and Lemon Soda

Photos by Jennifer Causey.


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Comments (58)

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over 2 years ago JanetGalope

I added just a bit of vanilla paste to the dough, and these were some of the best cookies I have ever had. Chewy, cheesy, sweet. I made a test batch to see if they would be good for Christmas cookies, and the answer is a big YES! I'm going to experiment with fillings (apricot, dulce de leche) and citrus glazes. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

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almost 3 years ago 1172 cook

Thank you Merrill and Ronnie, I am making these for my Break Fast tomorrow, if they last that long!
Congratulations to you and your husband on the news, our "girls" families are growing!
Judy

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almost 3 years ago gt9

Whoa! The biggest challenge tonight is to stop walking by these cookies and not picking up another. Yummy and oh so easy! Thanks Merrill.

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almost 3 years ago Bondstchoc

The idea was to make these for my 7 year old son but, alas, there were only 2 left by the time he got home. Oops. Round 2 tonight! These will be an excellent palate cleanser for post Russ & Daughters Yom Kippur spread. Thanks!

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almost 3 years ago Bondstchoc

The idea was to make them for my 7 year old boy as a treat -- I think there were 2 left by the time he got home. Oops. Round 2 tonight? Maybe as a post Russ & Daughters Yom Kippur spread palate cleanser? So great, Thanks.

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almost 3 years ago anntruelove

I made these cookies last night for dessert and loved them. Making cookies on a weeknight!? This never happens in my house. I absolutely love the simplicity of this recipe. My cookies turned out chunkier than those in the picture. Any suggestions for thinning out the dough so that I end up with less chunky and more spread out cookies?

Monkeys

almost 3 years ago monkeymom

Congratulations Merrill! Woo hoo! You look fantastic.

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almost 3 years ago KitchenKim

I see you prepared the cookies on non-bleached parchment paper! I just bought some and love how they come pre-cut! Thanks for the recipe...looks delish:)

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almost 3 years ago capemaggie

How would half a maraschino cherry be in the middle? I do like the idea of the citrus zests.

Currenttom

almost 3 years ago tmmurphy

Made these for our Sunday Dinner this evening and did add some lemon zest. Fabulous cookies - thanks so much for sharing.

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome! I'm eating one right now myself.

Cakes

almost 3 years ago Bevi

Merrill! I totally missed the reference when skimming the grape soda post! And as I looked at the photos of you making the recipe, I asked myself, "is it possible that....?"

Congratulations and how exciting! I agree that we have to have a baby shower recipe contest!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much, Bevi! I'm past the point of being able to hide the bump now, I'm afraid!

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almost 3 years ago quadbob

I baked a triple recipe of these delicious cookies for a meeting of about 50 people and could have used a lot more. They received rave reviews from everyone. They are so simple to make and the result is fabulous!!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I made a double recipe tonight myself -- so glad you liked them!

Baqjade2oct2010

almost 3 years ago BettyAnnQ

This sounds like an amazing cookie recipe! And if you say it's your Mom's iconic recipe, then I'm in ! Printing it now . I'm on it ! Thanks for sharing a treasured family recipe!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

My pleasure!

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almost 3 years ago liamoran

Hi Merrill, I just made these because it's a Sunday and I love spending the day in the kitchen. They are delicious and easy to make!

Your description is perfect. I am taking some to my parents this afternoon; I know my they will love them, and my mom will love the Tupperware party back story. The remainder (if there are any) will be a Monday treat for my co-workers. Thanks to you and your mom for the great recipe!

And congratulations to you and your husband on your exciting news!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, and so glad you liked them!

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almost 3 years ago Margaret McCormick

Hello, new Christmas cookie! Perhaps with a little vanilla or almond extract, or some citrus zest, as others suggest. Thank you for sharing a treasured family recipe.

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're very welcome. I bet the almond extract would be delicious!

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almost 3 years ago witloof

These look wonderful. I'm going to try them with some barley flour.

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Interesting! Let me know how that goes.

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almost 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, my, I missed that reference on the grape soda! Congratulations! So happy for you!

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

so did I, congratulations Merrill! (will we all have the honor of contributing recipes in a baby shower contest theme?)

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much! And something pregnancy-related to come, for sure...

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

These are lovely, and the recipe sounds sort of like your family's version Belle Foley's Chocolate Cake. I've just squeezed these into next week's menus. Thank you so much.

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're very welcome.

Farmer's_market

almost 3 years ago amysarah

I wonder - since you mention these cookies' texture being somewhat like a coconut macaroon - have you ever made them with flaked coconut (maybe even toasted) added to the dough? My life long coconut bender requires that I try to sneak it into any baked good, and this seems like a great marriage. Btw, had a coconut shake with a delectable Arepa de Pernil at Caracas Arepa Bar, on E. 7th St., yesterday and it was heaven - not too sweet or rich, like a milky coconut slushy with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Really refreshing - highly recommend it! (This was after a glass of Malbec with the arepa - another great combo.)

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I haven't tried adding coconut, but I think that would be really good. And that milkshake sounds delish!

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almost 3 years ago cookbookchick

I have your concord grapes recipe cooking on the stove right now -- these cookies are next. (And look at that tummy, Mama!)

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

HOLD THE PHONE! Is there something we need to know?

Me

almost 3 years ago wssmom

Read all about it here ... http://www.food52.com/blog...

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I missed that! Congratulations Merrill!!!

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almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You look absolutely beautiful!

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

You are glowing, Merrill!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much, everyone! It really means a lot to have all of your support and kind wishes.

Me

almost 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I totally missed this fabulous news too!!!! Many congrats to you and your husband! We are all so happy for you and will be following the progress of this baby every step of the way!!!

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almost 3 years ago EmilyC

Cream cheese is now on the shopping list! I'll bet these are fantastic with tea or coffee.

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I love them with a nice milky cup of English Breakfast tea.

Amedeo_modigliani_2

almost 3 years ago LovelyVelocity

I'm making these. I love the way they find their way into your mother's repertoire!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, me too!

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wonderful, cream cheese dough is so good. Just in time for the holidays and cookie baking.

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Not a coincidence!

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

OK I have a wedding shower here tomorrow - was going to do a plate of store cookies but I think I can manage to make a batch of these!!! I already want to fiddle - what about a little lemon zest?

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

I was planning to sneak some Saffron in, didn't want to say it out loud until i made it.. other option, cardamom, I'll keep the crazier versions to myself, in case Merill comes at me with a bat for potentially defiling this awesome recipe!

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almost 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I was thinking lemon or orange zest, too. Or half dipped in melted dark chocolate.

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almost 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My mother made the same cookies, of a somewhat earlier vintage, though hers have a bit more flour so they easily go through a cookie press, to make "snowflake" cookies (a holiday favorite at our house). She always added orange zest and a touch of vanilla. Go for it!! ;o) P.S. I'd add both lemon and orange.

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almost 3 years ago EmilyC

Ohh...I like the combo of lemon and orange zest!!...and I'll bet the Dorie Greenspan tip of rubbing the zest and sugar together with your finger tips until the sugar is moist and fragrant with zest would be perfect here...Merrill, it sounds like a lot of us are going to be making these cookies soon!

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almost 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Actually, although the entire world (except me) seems to think that microplane rasps are the be-all-and-end-all for zesting citrus, I have always preferred to do it the old-fashioned way, i.e., to chop the zest with the sugar, so that the oils go directly into the sugar. Admittedly, Ms. Greenspan's way would certainly make your fingertips smell nice. (But they do anyway, just from using the conventional zester. And the oils should be flavoring the sugar, not moisturizing your hands.) ;o) P.S. You get more flavorful, perceptible little bits of peel that way, too, so the zest contributes to the texture.

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

You could also blitz a batch of sugar with the zest in the food processor. The left over would be great in iced tea!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love the idea of adding zests. I'm going to try them this week with lime and grapefruit.

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Ooooh, love the saffron idea, Panfusine.

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

aargersi, the lemon zest was an absolutely delish idea, These cookies are simply to DIE FOR! next stop (hey cream cheese comes in 8oz packages, still have a batch and a half to go right?) saffron, & later cardamom!

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almost 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I like pomelo plus star anise, as the zest is so much more flavorful than the grapefruit we get here. But alas, we won't see either for months. ;o)

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almost 3 years ago witloof

Meyer lemon zest!

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Funny, I almost added lemon zest but then decided to stay true to the original. Think all of these ideas are great.

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

This would be fabulous to send off as a snack for school!, Thanks so much merill.