On the recipe page of her mother's cream cheese cookie recipe, Merrill Stubbs explained the recipe was given out at a Tupperware party and asked, "Who knows how many subtle variations of this recipe exist today, legendary among countless other families?" [see https://food52.com/recipes...]. Well, let me offer up a crowd-pleasing variation of the cream cheese cookie, found in my nana's handwriting in one of her recipe boxes. This version has toasted coconut, and quite a bit more dairy. These cookies can be made with or without walnuts (I usually do without). I have successfully halved or, at the very least, subtracted 4 tablespoons of butter from the delectably indulgent 1 cup with good results — though my partner prefers the full fat original version. It's also likely you can get away with using a scant cup of sugar. I have been told not to come to holiday parties unless I brought these with me — people will gobble them up! —lydiaencyclopda
While the butter and cream cheese soften in their packages on the counter, toast the coconut flakes. I have found spreading the 1/2 cup (or more, if you like) of flakes on a cookie sheet toasts ~2-4 minutes in a 325˚F oven. Set a timer and check often — many a 1/2 cup has been accidentally burned and tossed out :( When the coconut has a nice golden tinge, remove from oven and scrape into a small bowl. Set aside. Leave the oven on at 325˚F.
Cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla.
Add egg and milk. Beat well.
Add flour (can do this all at once or separated by cup) and stir in the coconut.
Drop from a teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Nana's recipe says you can use an ungreased cookie sheet, but I have always baked them on top of a silicone pad + sheet. Top each drop with a walnut half, if desired. The cookies do not spread out that much in the oven, so you can bake quite a bit each time.
Bake in the slow, 325˚F oven for ~20-25 minutes. The cookies should develop a slight golden hue — depending on how moist or crispy you like your cookies, you may want to experiment with the baking time. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack and enjoy before someone else gets to them!