Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Doctor Approved

When I was a kid, right around Christmas every year my mom would allow me to play “hooky” from school for one day, and instead of attending classes, I was to spend the entire day in the kitchen with her baking hundreds of Christmas cookies.  We called this day “Cookie Hooky.”  I’m not sure if her reasoning behind this day was to reward me for getting good grades and doing well in school, or if it was just her sneaky way of getting me to do the bulk of the work (my mother is a self-proclaimed baking-hater).  Regardless, I excitedly looked forward to Cookie-Hooky every year… almost as much as Christmas day itself.

We baked lots of different kinds of cookies, and eventually some of our recipes became family traditions that were requested each and every year, come Christmastime.  My brother’s favorites were always the “Cream Cheese Sprinkle Cookies,” a simple, yet scrumptious creamy vanilla cookie dressed with a pretty Christmas sparkle.  We made a double batch of these babies every year, per Jeffrey’s request.  Somehow, over time, our recipe was lost and a few Christmases passed by without the familiar luscious red and green sprinkled treats.  I’ve researched and played around with a few cream cheese cookie recipes, but nothing seemed quite right… until, out of the blue on a day in late April, my mom found the beloved recipe!  Just in time for me to bake up a few batches and experiment with some new flavors for my brother’s birthday in May!

The vanilla recipe, I knew wouldn’t need much tweaking, as it is simply magnificent just as it is.  As he also happens to be a lover of chocolate, I also baked Jeffrey a special batch of my own chocolate-version of his favorite treat.  The cookie doughs turned out beautifully, both of them deliciously sugary-sweet with the perfect touch of tangy-tartness.  After a few quick rolls in sugar of Jeff’s favorite color, bright “Superman-Blue,” the dough was sliced, baked, and shipped off with love to my amazing brother, who just recently passed his last set of boards and is, officially, a doctor.  I’m so proud of him and hope that these cookies help bring him back to memories of our Christmases together as kids, and I hope that they also play a part in the celebration of his birthday and this huge milestone in his life and his career.

Vanilla & Chocolate Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Inspired by and adapted from: Mama Lew’s “Cream Cheese Sprinkle Christmas Cookies”

Vanilla Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies                                                    Chocolate Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature                    ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, softened                                                     8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar                                                                     1 ¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract                                                                ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt                                                                                 ½ teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups all purpose flour                                                                  2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

colored sugar for decorating                                                              1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

-recipe yield: about 3 dozen cookies (per batch)                               colored sugar for decorating

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until soft and combined.  Add sugar and cream together until no longer granular, about 5 minutes.  Beat in vanilla extract and salt.  Sift in the flour and cocoa powder (if making chocolate cookies).  Stir dough together until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl.  Refrigerate dough for about 10 minutes, just chilling it enough to slightly firm the dough.  Divide chilled dough into four equal parts.  Roll each part into a log and wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil.  Freeze the four logs overnight (or longer).

When ready to bake cookies, preheat
the oven to 325 degrees.  Remove the logs from the freezer and peel away foil and plastic wrap layers.  Roll the logs in colored sugars and press sugars gently into the dough to help them to stick.  Slice logs into disks about ¼ inch thick and place disks onto sheet trays lined with parchment paper.  Leave a couple inches of space between disks on tray.  Bake cookies for 14-18 minutes, making sure not to overbake.  Place trays onto cooling racks for 7-10 minutes to cool, then transfer cookies directly on racks.

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One Comment to “Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Doctor Approved”

  1. Me and the Tal-ster are totally playing “cookie hooky”. Great tradition and great cookies – thanks to you and Mama Lew!

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