Spending much of last night between Urgent Care and the ER because of anaphylaxis-mimicking scombroid poisoning episode (caused by an absolutely delicious tuna burger at one of my fav restaurants), I figured a good use for my mandatory stay-home-and-rest morning would be to post these divine cookies from last weekend. If my typing becomes garbled, blame the post-Benadryl grogginess…
Cream cheese in cookie dough has long been something I have wanted to try, but, living with a cream-cheese-o-phobe, made me hesitant to bring one of those creamy, white blocks into the house for fear of a point blank denial. Using all of my best distraction tactics (and keeping the cackling to a minimum), however, I finally managed to sneak a brick of cream cheese into the fridge this weekend, and boy am I glad I did! Incidentally, the cream-cheese-shunner is pretty glad as well 😉
Anybody who’s read foodswingblog before knows that I’m a BIG texture person. Not only do I want my baked goods to look pretty, but I also want them to feel gloriously luxurious when crammed hand-over-fist into your mouth. Let’s face it, the less daintily you eat a cookie, the better it tastes. Proven fact.
After reading through a bunch of blog posts and cookie dough recipes featuring varying proportions of butter:cream cheese, I decided to base my recipe off of this one, by Averie Cooks – another blog in which I have total blind faith. The original recipe was for a more traditional chocolate chip cookie, but I had different visions in mind for the flavor profile…
Almond extract has always been a favorite flavoring of mine, especially when combined with silky white chocolate, in a not-too-sweet cookie dough. The sprinkles were a last minute add-in, because, really, can you ever go wrong with sprinkles? (the answer to that question is no, just in case you were confused)
The resulting cookie was thick, yet soft, cakey, yet moist, and beautiful, yet delicious! There is no detectable cream cheese flavor in the baked cookies, but the heavenly texture is owed strongly to its inclusion in this dough. Even the most wary of cream cheese haters would never guess your little secret. This cookie dough will definitely become the newest staple recipe to add to my repertoire!
2 oz. regular cream cheese, cubed and at room temp
3/4 cup very loosely packed brown sugar (with the sprinkles and white chocolate chips, you don’t want the dough too sweet)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temp
2 teaspoons almond extract (breathe in deeply as you measure and pour)
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Rainbow nonpareils, for rolling
With an electric mixer set to medium, beat together butter, cream cheese, and both sugars for 3-4 minutes, until fully incorporated, pale, and fluffy. Add egg and almond extract, and beat for 2 more minutes. Meanwhile (if you’re using a stand mixer, otherwise, do this step first), in a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Turn mixer to lowest setting, and gradually add in small aliquots of dry ingredients, beat for no longer than 20 seconds once all dry ingredients have been added. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and fold in chocolate chips. Scrape dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, form into a ball – using minimal manipulation – and wrap dough ball tightly. Place wrapped dough inside a zip-top bag, and chill for 24-48 hours.
Remove dough from fridge for 1 hour prior to shaping. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit, and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Pour nonpareils into a shallow plate. Use two spoons to shape heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into rough balls. Roll each dough ball in the nonpareils, and place on a large plate while you roll the rest of the dough balls. Once all dough balls have been prepared, place balls, 8 at a time, on prepared baking sheets, placed ~2″ apart. Flatten dough balls slightly with your palm (dough balls should be ~3/4″ thick). Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cookies should be removed when tops just start to crack and you can see golden brownness JUST starting to appear at the very bottoms of the edges. Let sit on hot cookie sheets for 3 minutes, then remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough balls – keep plate of uncooked dough balls covered with plastic wrap while you cook the batches #foodsafety
Store cooled cookies in airtight containers for up to 5 days, at room temperature.
NOTE: You can shape the dough balls into “Y”-shapes prior to baking if you want to end up with heart-shaped cookies, but – be warned – the exact spreading of shaped cookies like these isn’t super predictable, so you might end up with some lopsided hearts and others showing shocking degrees of ventricular hypertrophy…c’est la vie.