Classic Cream Cheese Cookies

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These Classic Cream Cheese Cookies are soft & buttery, a little bit dense but just melts away in your mouth with each bite. Top these cream cheese cookies with a buttery pecan or roll them in some festive sprinkles for a holiday treat. These easy Christmas Cookies are perfect for cookie exchanges and gift bags! 

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A sugar cookie with a pecan on top leaning up against a small blue bowl filled with cookies

It’s time for cookie week- one of my favorite times of the year! Christmas time is all about the cookies, especially sugar cookies! We’re starting off with a Classic Cream Cheese Cookie recipe.

This recipe was pulled from my archives, as are the rest of the cookies I’m sharing this week. Years ago- or maybe last year, who knows, my mom gave me giants stacks of old recipe cards that she had been saving from her collection and from my grandmothers.

In the pile I found magazine clippings, some from the 50s & 60s, recipes scratched on scrap paper, recipes cut out from old packaging, and vintage recipes cards written with care. I recognized my grandmother’s handwriting, because it’s impossible to read. Thankfully my mom has translated many of her recipes with her own handwriting, which is much more legible.

A small blue bowl filled with pecan topped cream cheese cookies, and the cookie on top has a bite taken out of it, showing you the middle of the cookie

Anyway, a few weeks ago my mom was visiting, and I was working on some of these cookie recipes. She kept telling me over and over again that she can’t find any of her cookie recipes, and she must have misplaced them during one of her many moves in the last few years.

Well, I grabbed the recipes that I needed her to help me make and turns out these were her missing recipe cards. She had forgotten that she actually gave them to me. She snapped photos of them so that she had them in her phone, but she was so happy to see them again and to know they were not lost.

Anyway, I digress.

This recipe for Cream Cheese Cookies is from Cyndi Freeman, who, if I had to guess, was a friend or neighbor of ours growing up. So, the original origins of the recipe are unknown to me.

3 sprinkle cream cheese cookies leaning up against each other with a jar of rainbow sprinkles in the background

These cookies are soft & buttery and a little bit dense, but they just melt away in your mouth with each bite. While they’re flavored with vanilla extract, you can easily substitute for another flavor of extract or even add some zested fruit.

I’ve actually never had a cream cheese cookie before, but I have certainly seen them shared in various ways over the last few years, and they’re all a bit different.

This recipe is actually mostly butter, with just a touch of cream cheese. You don’t really taste the cream cheese, but I believe it makes these cookies nice and soft in the middle.

Otherwise these cookies have all your classic ingredients: lots of sugar and flour, some vanilla and an egg yolk instead of a full egg. It’s a pretty straight forward list of ingredients, but what’s interesting is that there’s no leveling agent. Theses cookie don’t spread very much.

The only thing you really need to prepare for is that these require at least one hour of time in the refrigerator. Other than that, they’re really quite easy, and the recipe can be doubled for larger batches.

A stack of 3 butter cookie topped with pecans

3 ways to garnish Cream Cheese Cookies

 What I love about these simple recipes is they can be used for any type of holiday, a cookie exchange or as a neighbor gift.

  • Garnish with nuts. The original recipe calls for pecans.
  • Roll them in nonpareils or sanding sugar sprinkles for a festive treat. Red and green for Christmas or pink and red for Valentine’s day.
  • Top with a simple powdered sugar glaze, perhaps with a little lemon zest or even some sprinkles on top

You can totally customize these cookies to your liking.

4 cream cheese cookies, rolled in rainbow sprinkles and stacked on top of each other, the top one has a bite taken out of it to show you the center of the cookie.

How to make cream cheese cookies

  • Start with softened butter and cream cheese and beat together to combine.
  • Add the sugar and beat until it’s well creamed together and fluffy.
  • Next add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, again, mixing until combined.
  • Slowly add the flour and beat on medium low until the dough begins to form.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Press a pecan into the top of each one or roll each ball in nonpareil sprinkles and then bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes.

a vintage pink glass plate with a pile of cookies on top of it that are rolled in sprinkles

How to freeze these cookies

If you’re like me, you want to get ahead of your holiday baking. I make all my cookies ahead of time and freeze them so I can send out all my cookie baskets in early December.

Be sure these cookies are completely cooled prior to freezing. If you’re planning to glaze them, I would recommend freezing them without the glaze. Store them in an airtight container, with layers of parchment or wax paper in between.

A cream cheese cookie with a pecan on top is leaning up against another stack of cookies.

Thanks for joining me for cookie week! They will be more classic cookies to come, but in the meantime, I am sharing some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.

More Christmas Cookie Recipes

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a vintage pink glass plate with a pile of cookies on top of it that are rolled in sprinkles

Classic Cream Cheese Cookies

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 56 minute
  • Yield: 24 cookies

Description

These Classic Cream Cheese Cookies are soft & buttery, a little bit dense but just melts away in your mouth with each bite. Top these cream cheese cookies with a buttery pecan or roll them in some festive sprinkles for a holiday treat. These easy Christmas Cookies are perfect for cookie exchanges and gift bags! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
  • 24 Pecans or sprinkles for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the butter and cream cheese and beat until well combined. Then add the sugar and beat on medium speed until well creamed together and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix until it’s well combined.
  3. Slowly add the flour and beat on medium low speed until well combined and dough forms.
  4. Chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350° Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Press a pecan into the top of each one or roll each ball in nonpareil sprinkles.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information:
1 Cookie
177
8.6g
12.9mg
10.7g
5.7g
18.8g
.5g
19.g
31.6mg
  • Category: Cookies
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2 Responses
  1. Erin

    I love making cream cheese cookies, and topping them with cream cheese frosting 🙂 These look so wonderful, and perfectly thick and soft! One tip I have is to add a little touch of almond extract to the cookies, as it takes the flavor to a whole new level of deliciousness.

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