Cream cheese is so often the source of such simple pleasures, and these cookies are no exception. Lemony, fluffy, and festive, with sweet drizzled icing, they're tasty, sure — but perhaps what these cookies really have going for them is their ease. Ready? Go.
This cookie dough is pretty reminiscent of cheesecake batter, but with extra flour, it's firm enough to stand on its own without a crust (or a water bath!), and as a result, the cookies taste more of actual cream cheese and less of cheesecake.
In all, once you have your ingredients ready to go, the batter will take you about five minutes to make. And you can prepare the cookies ahead of time, too, by chilling the dough after you make it or by scooping the cookies in advance and chilling after you've formed them. With only 15 minutes in the oven, you can bake 'em fresh and eat 'em warm.
There couldn't be a more perfect (and timely) cookie to get me excited for spring! When it comes to baked goods around this time of year, I tend to make a beeline for all things lemon. Between the cookies themselves and the drizzled icing, there's no shortage of sweet, tart lemony goodness.
But really, the best thing about these lemon cream cheese cookies is that they're like two desserts in one. A mash-up of cookies and cheesecake in one delicious bite-size treat.
I had a few Meyer lemons lingering around, and I'm always more than happy to put them to good use every chance I get, so I used them in this recipe. Though, fear not, regular lemons work just as well here.
- Kelli, March 2015
Lemon Cheesecake Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
(one 8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
finely grated lemon zest
pure vanilla extract
- For the icing:
fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sugar gradually, and mix until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add zest, vanilla, and egg. Beat to combine. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. If batter seems loose or warm, chill in the refrigerator until firm.
Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart. Use a small ice cream scooper for uniform cookies (and to make it easy).
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until barely golden on the bottom. Do not overbake! Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Once the cookies are cool, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon in a small bowl. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cookies.
These cookies are best eaten the same day they are baked.
Be sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature, especially your cream cheese and butter. You want a cohesive batter with no lumps!
If you find that your cookies lose their shape when you drop them into rounds, chill the dough for at least one hour. It may be too warm.
Try other add-ins: lime or orange zest, a teaspoon of Cointreau or Sambuca, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, or a scraped vanilla bean instead of extract.
This recipe was originally published December 2010.