(Brown Sugar Cream Cheese) Sweet-Cinnamon Cookies
I struggled for a while over what name I should give these cookies. I really wanted to call them something that would properly evoke their taste. According to my boyfriend they’re a little bit like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but to me they were much more reminiscent of that deliciously thick, melt-in-your-mouth, sugary-sweet frosting you find atop a warm, fresh baked cinnamon bun. Yeah, you know the taste.
Cinnamon Roll Frosting Cookies was kind of a mouthful to say, though, and I felt like it might not be the best representation of what the cookies really were, so “Sweet-Cinnamon” it is.
These cookies are a snap to make, and the roll-on brown-sugar coating encases their soft interiors in a perfectly crisp shell.
So, set that butter (and cream cheese!) out to soften and prepare your tastebuds for a these sweet, simple cookies. Please, let me know what you think!
As I mentioned earlier, you are going to want to let 2 sticks of butter and 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese soften to about room temperature (the better to blend them with). In the past I have been guilty of using a microwave to ‘soften’ butter if I was in a hurry or just plain too impatient to wait for it to soften on its own… and I strongly do not recommend doing that. If the butter becomes too warm and starts to melt, it can negatively impact your end-product (i.e. you end up with some cookies that are wayyy too flat). Cooking is chemistry (the only kind I’ve ever enjoyed); there are a lot of changes happening on a molecular level that aren’t apparent to the naked eye, and when you cream the butter and sugar you create air pockets that help the cookies to rise (you can also over-cream the butter, but I’m not going to get into that now).
OK, enough of the chemistry mumbo-jumbo.
Once the butter and cream cheese have softened, blend them together in a stand-alone mixer, and add 1/2 cup sugar.
Take 1 large egg and separate the yolk from the white. Add in the yolk and discard the white.
Not everyone realizes that the egg white and egg yolk can/often are used as two separate ingredients, though it makes sense once you realize that they have two separate purposes. Egg yolks lend a moistness and softness to your cookies, while the whites help make them more puffy. I wanted the center of these cookies to be soft, and a little more dense, so I tossed out that white. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla here as well and stir in the stand-alone mixer.
Next, gradually add in the 2 1/4 cups flour (about 1/4 cup at a time) until the ingredients are all combined.
Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will make the dough more rollable (is that a word? You know what I mean) and less likely to stick to your fingers and come out looking like angry, sticky blobs.
A few moments before your dough has finished chilling combine your 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp white sugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Do not do this too far in advance of rolling the dough, or the mixture might harden and be more difficult to evenly roll your cookies through. Yes, the amount of cinnamon is very small for a recipe that boasts this ingredient in its title, but just trust me when I tell you a little goes a long way.
Once your dough has chilled, scoop and roll out balls about 1-1/4 thickness (I used a cookie dough scoop to get the right size and then rolled by hand for a smooth round ball). Please keep in mind that there is still raw egg in the dough, so watch what you touch with doughy fingers!
Roll the dough through your cinna-brown/white-sugar mixture and coat entirely. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake at 375F for 12-14 minutes. Once the cookies are done baking allow them to cool for at least five minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire baking rack. As I mentioned, these cookies are soft, so if you try to move them to a cooling rack right away they will break apart on you. These last few minutes on the baking sheet are important because the cookies are still baking on the sheet.
Cream Cheese Cookies
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened (170g)
- 8 oz cream cheese softened 227g
- 1 cup light brown sugar firmly packed (200g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour¹ 312g
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Additional granulated sugar for rolling optional²
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light, fluffy, and well-combined.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- With mixer on low-speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter/cream cheese mixture until completely combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed to ensure ingredients are well-combined.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours and up to 5 days.
- Once dough has chilled and you are about ready to bake your cookies, preheat oven to 350F (175C).
- Scoop cookie dough by 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized scoop and roll between your palms to form a smooth ball. Roll through granulated sugar (or other topping, if using) and place cookies 2” apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Transfer to 350F (175C) preheated oven and bake for 13-14 minutes. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.