Stop right now if you're still serving slice-and-bake cookies to Santa, and surprise him with these incredible, cinnamon roll-inspired cookies instead. These buttery, tender sugar cookies with their beautiful cinnamon sugar swirl will earn you an instant spot on the coveted “nice” list, no matter how naughty you have been this year!
I’ve always teetered on the fence when it comes to holiday cookies, making only one type of cookie in December, my tried-and-true sugar cookie cutouts. While the ornate, Pinterest-worthy cookies I see each year are beautiful, the recipes often fall flat on taste and leave me scrubbing my cookie sheets and kitchen for hours.
Thankfully, I've discovered these Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing – a seasonal twist on my classic sugar cookie recipe with an absolutely brilliant icing. With an oh-so-right soft texture and the aroma of cinnamon rolls on a chilly December morning, these cookies are pure holiday perfection. They are so good I had to hide them from my husband and his friends. Every time I turned around they had stolen a cookie from the cooling rack before I even had a chance to frost and photograph them. (I may have nibbled on a few as well, but don't tell anyone.)
Not only does this recipe deliver on flavor, but with PAM Baking Spray your cookies will release with ease and clean-up will not leave you feeling defeated. PAM Baking Spray contains real flour and leaves *99% less residue than leading brands of margarine or bargain-brand sprays.
Make sure to save one of these cookies for Santa, and perhaps all of your holiday wishes might come true!
Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing
For the dough:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
2 ounces cream cheese (1/4 of a standard cream cheese package)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
PAM Baking Spray
For the filling:
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the icing:
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 of a standard cream cheese package), at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
To make the dough, combine the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or with an electric hand mixer) and beat on medium to medium-high until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix until combined.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add, bit by bit, to the butter mixture until fully incorporated. Mix just until a soft dough forms.
Prepare to roll out the dough by spraying PAM Baking Spray on the counter and your rolling pin. Pat the dough out into a rectangle on the counter, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough 1/4-inch thick. Spray a baking sheet with PAM Baking Spray and transfer the dough to the sheet. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and smooth the softened butter evenly over the top of the dough. Combine the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the butter. Starting at the short side closest to you, carefully roll the dough into a tight, spiral log. (Think rolling sushi!) Gently pinch the seam to seal. Place the roll of dough in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to harden.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two baking sheets with PAM Baking Spray. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Divide the cookies between the two baking sheets.
Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness and shape size. (Ideally these cookies will not brown at all; finished cookies will have slightly golden brown bottoms, but they will feel very soft and under-baked until they cool.) Let cool on the cookies sheets for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to let them completely cool before icing.
To make icing, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Spread or drizzle the icing on cookies. Store in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days.