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Cream cheese sugar cookies

Sometimes you don’t expect things to be good. Sometimes you expect things to be downright bad. Or really amazing. Do these preconceived notions have an outcome on what really is, or what happens?

I think so. How can we enjoy things if we think they’re gonna suck from the get go? I know in my life outcomes have been greatly affected by my thoughts about them prior to things actually happening. Instead of just enjoying what is right in front of you. Which could be the most wonderful thing in the world.

So behold the poor sugar cookie, possibly the most underrated cookie in existence. It’s definitely my last pick if I have other options. They always look so lonely. Probably because they are never really that good. They are the cookie that has the most “meh” reputation. But these little pillows of goodness are buttery, creamy, and glisten beautifully with sugar after they are baked. The addition of cream cheese, which I’m a huge fan of in general, gives it a more supple texture and heartier chew.

Whatever you do, don’t go into this thinking they won’t be that good. It could potentially ruin what is a truly amazing thing.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Notes: make sure your butter is melted and not room temperature, and that you do not overwork the dough when mixing. These two steps are crucial in the soft texture we want to achieve here.

Variations: make Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies by adding 2 teaspoons lime zest and 1/2 cup sweetened coconut to the dough. Or you could do Chai Spice Sugar Cookies by adding 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and then 1/8 teaspoon ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.


2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar , plus 1/3 cup for rolling

2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.

Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until a soft, homogeneous dough forms.

Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.

Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

  1. Elina (Healthy and Sane)

    October 30th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I agree that sugar cookies are underrated. I made my favorite cookies a few years ago (recipe from Cook’s Illustrated “The Best Light Recipe”) and haven’t looked back since. I love love love them and have been making them at least annually for the holidays (although it should really be more often than that). These look very similar – nice and plump 🙂
    PS – I just found a bunch of business cards while cleaning so I think we’ve met at TechMunch earlier this summer 🙂

  2. thegrizzlykitchen

    October 30th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    We did! You’re Russian, right? Out of curiosity, how did you find my blog? I love love love Cook’s Illustrated so I will try out that recipe also. These are addictively delicious! Hope you are doing well!

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