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.
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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?
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).