Cream Cheese Cookies

By • September 29, 2011 • 132 Comments

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Author Notes: My mother's cream cheese 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?
Merrill Stubbs

Makes about 24 cookies

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a standing mixer or hand beaters, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in the flour and salt, just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and give it a quick stir with a spoon to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
  2. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie (they will spread a little). Bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Do not over-bake, or the cookies won't be chewy! Cool slight on the cookie sheet, and then remove the cookies with a spatula and let them finish cooling on a rack.
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Comments (132) Questions (13)

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18 days ago richard plagmann

This is my new favorite cookie! So easy to make and they are fantastic! Getting rave reviews since I put them out.

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4 months ago Frances Eugenia

These are fantastic.

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4 months ago Bill Riordan

I just made these, but added @ 1/2 cup more flour ( I am at 8300 feet altitude in Cuenca, Ecuador and have learned to adjust for it). The cookies came out perfect...crisp on the outside/chewy on the inside as advertised. I gave each a slight dusting of powdered sugar. Thank you for a great recipe.

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5 months ago Maureen N

Oops! That butter measure should be 1 1/2 cups (3/4 of a 2 cup pkg). Sorry for the error >.<

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5 months ago Maureen N

I just made a triple batch with the following adjustments to create Confetti Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 oz pkg cream cheese
2 1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 c flour
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 candy sprinkles

Baking time was the same, except for one note. This is the first time I've used a silicon baking sheet, and that required longer cooking. The cookies on the sheets where I used traditional parchment were great with the 12 minute time.

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6 months ago S B

My new favorite cookies. Served them with lime ice cream (recipe from Food52, of course) and guests went wild, refusing to leave without the recipes!

Merrill

6 months ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Have never thought to serve them together -- what a great idea! Glad they were both a success...

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7 months ago witloof

Hi Merrill,
I'm going on a six hour road trip on Friday, and I asked what snacks I could bring. My friend's eyes lit up, and she said, "Make those amazing cream cheese cookies!"
{I brought them to a dance festival four years ago, and apparently she still remembers them!}

Merrill

7 months ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad to hear it -- thanks for letting me know!

Stringio

11 months ago Candace Kaw

Used whole wheat flour and they were delicious! I finished them half an hour ago and they are nearly gone, my parents loved them!

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about 1 year ago Michelle de Lima

I just have to add my voice to the chorus of praise--so good! Based on other reviews I used Philadelphia instead of my usual Organic Valley, and reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup. I worried that might affect the texture, but they came out just like the picture and are so fragrant and delicious. Was planning to give out as part of a Christmas cookie medley, now not so sure I can part with them...

Bw

about 1 year ago Kelsey Miller

These are my FAVORITE cookies! I made them all the time while I was in college, and still make them when I just need a good cookie. I love the gooey, tangy middle coupled with the crunchy edges. From trial and error, I've done a lot of things wrong and a lot of things right with these cookies. Here's what I've found: 1) Baking directly onto a non-stick pan makes the cookies spread A LOT. This results in one giant cookie and/or cookies that aren't browned on the edges. Use an old cookie tin with a very, very thin layer of Crisco if you don't have parchment paper; 2) There's only 5 ingredients, so make sure those 5 ingredients are of high-quality. I couldn't always get the best ingredients in college, and this always resulted in inferior cookies; and 3) Take the butter and cream cheese out of the fridge and let them warm up to room temperature. Do not use them before they're ready. Do not warm or soften them in the microwave. Do not even think about it. If you're in a rush, you can put them at the back of your stove while your oven is preheating.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Lisa Dean

These cookies do taste good but mine look terrible. First off, don't use parchment paper. My cookies baked into it. I couldn't even peel it away. I was afraid to cook them directly on the cookie sheet. (If they stuck that bad to parchment paper...?) They didn't stick. In fact they were so greasy they slide into each other and baked together. Most of them baked out so flat the cookie actually separated giving it a snowflake look. What I'm left with are dozens of greasy, flat, separated cookies. I'm supposed to be taking these to a cookie exchange party this afternoon and I'm a little embarrassed by them. Don't get me wrong. They still taste good but I'm not sure I'll be able to get anyone to try one.

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about 1 year ago Count Mockula

You might have terrible parchment paper. The first roll I got changed my life. The second roll, a different brand, stuck to everything. I was always peeling it off the bottoms of loaves of bread in strips. Then I got a good batch again, and it's a lifesaver.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Patte Packey

One of the problems some may be having is that this recipe does not scale well, therefore prepare the dough one batch at a time. It's a very easy recipe, so it doesn't take much extra time. I also rest mine in the fridge for a while, and the cookies don't spread. As always, with so few ingredients make sure the butter is top quality and you will have beautiful cookies!

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about 1 year ago Galapagos

One of those variations came to me from a local cheese producer who printed up the same recipe but with fresh chèvre instead of the cream cheese. Look just like the photo. Cookies were good but I didn't think $5 of goat cheese added enough and I'd use cream cheese the next time.

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about 1 year ago Nutbutter

These cookies are heavenly, and they always impress! Sophisticated flavor and texture with 5 ingredients.. 'nuff said.

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about 1 year ago Gina

I made these last night. All gone as of this morning.

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over 1 year ago SusanR

I made a double batch of these last week, and they were all gone in a few days. My cookies came out looking exactly like the picture. The crunch on the outside, the chewy center. These cookies are perfect. I am thinking of making them today with half lavender sugar, half regular sugar. Great recipe!

Merrill

over 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you liked them!

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about 1 year ago SusanR

I was going to post a picture of how perfectly mine came out following your directions exactly, but I cannot find a way to post a picture. Can someone help?

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about 1 year ago SusanR

So I have to say these cookies are amazing. One thing you need to do to make them perfectly is use the right ingredients. First, use Philadelphia Cream Cheese only. Today, I used organic sugar, and they did not come out right, so, I am going to stick to regular C&H sugar. Still I maintain, best cookie, easiest cookie, ever!

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about 1 year ago SusanR

Ugh. I think these cookies do benefit from particular ingredients, but... Following directions helps. I added the sugar after beating the cream cheese and butter for five minutes. Soooo the lesson here is don't be smug and make these from memory. :)

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over 1 year ago The Good Cook

How much do these cookies rise?

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over 1 year ago Lorey21

Very minimal

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over 1 year ago The Good Cook

How much do these cookies rise?

Parmigiano-reggiano_gal

over 1 year ago PRST

Made a double recipe yesterday with the addition of the zest from one large orange yielding a flavor reminiscent of a creamsicle! YUM! However, mine looked nothing like the ones photographed by Jennifer Causey. I was rather disappointed- they spread out more than just a little and hardly browned. I tried uping the oven temperature by 25 degrees to obtain the caramelized edges and tops to no avail. I think the amount of flour is critical in keeping the cookies from spreading more than just a little and wished weights would be given in addition to cup measurements. Also, my oven temperature is right-on so I wonder why they didn't brown like the photograph.

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over 1 year ago cookbookchick

Mine did the same thing the first time I made them -- I ended up with one big pan-sized cookie! Good, but.. Please see my posts elsewhere on this thread. I was using a different kind of cream cheese the first time, not the usual Philadelphia brand. The second time I did use Philly and they came out like the picture. Could it have been your cream cheese?

Stringio

over 1 year ago natashaepperson

I found that if i didn't follow the order of the ingredients they did not bake right...

Stringio

over 1 year ago natashaepperson

great idea on the orange zest though

Parmigiano-reggiano_gal

over 1 year ago PRST

Thanks cookbookchick!!!! I did see your post but for some reason it didn't click with me. I used Organic Valley Cream Cheese -maybe that was the reason they spread more than a little- sad as my first choice is always to use organic ingredients. I'll try again with Philadelphia. Mine were not a total flop- they just didn't look as good as the picture. I've seen a big difference before in baking when using inexpensive butters but it makes sense that the cream cheese would make a difference too.

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over 1 year ago Lea_e

Thanks for this lovely recipe. First time preparing cookies and it did turn out great! :)