Amanda & Merrill

Cream Cheese Cookies

September 30, 2011

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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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).

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48 Comments

JanetGalope December 5, 2011
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!
 
1172 C. October 7, 2011
Thank you Merrill and Ronnie, I am making these for my Break Fast tomorrow, if they last that long!<br />Congratulations to you and your husband on the news, our "girls" families are growing!<br />Judy
 
gt9 October 4, 2011
Whoa! The biggest challenge tonight is to stop walking by these cookies and not picking up another. Yummy and oh so easy! Thanks Merrill.
 
Bondstchoc October 4, 2011
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!
 
Bondstchoc October 4, 2011
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.
 
anntruelove October 4, 2011
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?
 
monkeymom October 4, 2011
Congratulations Merrill! Woo hoo! You look fantastic.
 
KitchenKim October 3, 2011
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:)
 
capemaggie October 3, 2011
How would half a maraschino cherry be in the middle? I do like the idea of the citrus zests.
 
tmmurphy October 2, 2011
Made these for our Sunday Dinner this evening and did add some lemon zest. Fabulous cookies - thanks so much for sharing.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 2, 2011
You're welcome! I'm eating one right now myself.
 
Bevi October 2, 2011
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....?"<br /><br />Congratulations and how exciting! I agree that we have to have a baby shower recipe contest!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 2, 2011
Thanks so much, Bevi! I'm past the point of being able to hide the bump now, I'm afraid!
 
quadbob October 2, 2011
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!!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 2, 2011
I made a double recipe tonight myself -- so glad you liked them!
 
BettyAnnQ October 2, 2011
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!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 2, 2011
My pleasure!
 
liamoran October 2, 2011
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! <br /><br />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!<br /><br />And congratulations to you and your husband on your exciting news!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 2, 2011
Thanks, and so glad you liked them!
 
Margaret M. October 2, 2011
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.<br />
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 2, 2011
You're very welcome. I bet the almond extract would be delicious!
 
witloof September 30, 2011
These look wonderful. I'm going to try them with some barley flour.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 1, 2011
Interesting! Let me know how that goes.
 
drbabs September 30, 2011
Oh, my, I missed that reference on the grape soda! Congratulations! So happy for you!
 
Panfusine September 30, 2011
so did I, congratulations Merrill! (will we all have the honor of contributing recipes in a baby shower contest theme?)
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 1, 2011
Thanks so much! And something pregnancy-related to come, for sure...
 
boulangere September 30, 2011
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.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 1, 2011
You're very welcome.
 
amysarah September 30, 2011
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.)<br />
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 1, 2011
I haven't tried adding coconut, but I think that would be really good. And that milkshake sounds delish!
 
EmilyC September 30, 2011
Cream cheese is now on the shopping list! I'll bet these are fantastic with tea or coffee.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 1, 2011
I love them with a nice milky cup of English Breakfast tea.