Lofthouse Cookies

published Nov 14, 2023
christmas
Lofthouse Cookies Recipe

This nostalgic recipe is a total dupe for the super-soft, frosted grocery store cookies so many of us have loved since childhood.

Makes18 (3-inch) cookies

Prep35 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 15 minutes

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Overhead shot of lofthouse cookies on a white marble surface, with rainbow sprinkles laying around them.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Nicole Rufus

Lofthouse cookies are soft, almost cake-like cookies that have a generous smear of pastel frosting and sprinkles on top. They have just enough sugar to make them sweet, which is perfect when contrasted with the sugary buttercream frosting on top. 

When I was growing up in Texas, these cookies were a fixture at every classroom birthday, end-of-year celebration, and back-to-school swim party. Because my mom would never buy them for me, I only ever had them on those occasions, so I love the idea of making them at home for myself now. This copycat recipe tastes just like the real deal and will help you recreate the iconic cookies at home. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Nicole Rufus

What Makes These Lofthouse Cookies So Soft?

Cornstarch is used in this recipe to deliver cookies with a super-soft and tender crumb. Some recipes call for cake flour to achieve this, but I usually have all-purpose on hand, so I find it easier to just mix a bit of cornstarch in with my all-purpose flour. I tested it both ways and the difference is negligible in my opinion!

Do You Have to Use Almond Extract in These Cookies?

You don’t have to use almond extract — especially if you’re allergic to nuts — but the almond extract really helps to mimic the artificial flavoring found in store-bought Lofthouse cookies. If you want to skip it, you can just bump up the vanilla extract by another 1/4 teaspoon.

Which Food Coloring Is Best for the Frosting?

Gel food coloring typically goes a lot further — while using a lot less — but either type will get the job done, so use whatever you’ve got. You can also skip the food coloring all together if it’s a hassle; the cookies will taste exactly the same.

More Copycat Recipes

Lofthouse Cookies Recipe

This nostalgic recipe is a total dupe for the super-soft, frosted grocery store cookies so many of us have loved since childhood.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Makes 18 (3-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 3 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    almond extract (or an additional 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract)

For the frosting and decorating:

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/8 teaspooon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • Food coloring (optional)

  • Sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

Make the cookies:

  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter and 4 ounces cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Place 1 large egg and 1 stick unsalted butter (for the frosting) on the counter. Let everything sit at room temperature until the butter and cream cheese are softened.

  2. Meanwhile, place 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Beat the butter and cream cheese with the paddle attachment on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl down with a flexible spatula as needed.

  4. Add the egg, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Beat on medium speed until incorporated and lightened in color, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and beat on the lowest speed until just combined. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a disc. Wrap the dough up in the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

  5. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  6. Lightly flour a work surface. Unwrap the dough and place on the flour. Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough until 1/2-inch thick. Cut cookies out with a floured 3-inch cookie cutter (or use a round cutter 3-inches in diameter), dipping the cutter in flour as needed between cuts.

  7. Gather the scraps and form them into a ball. Roll out again until 1/2-inch thick and cut out more cookies. Only re-roll the dough once and discard any remaining dough. Transfer the rounds onto the baking sheets, 9 per baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.

  8. Bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and light golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes more. The cookies may appear a bit underdone in the center but they will finish cooking as they cool. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Make the frosting:

  1. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Place the remaining 1 stick softened unsalted butter and 1/8 teaspoon kosher in the bowl. Beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly beat in 2 cups powdered sugar in 3 to 4 increments. Continue beating on medium speed until light and fluffy again, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat until combined. For colored frosting, add a few drops of food coloring if desired and beat until combined.

  3. Spread a thick layer of frosting over each cookie with an offset spatula or butter knife. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cookie dough can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead or frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe.

Storage: The cookies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.