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Cream Cheese Shortbread Cookies

These cream cheese shortbread cookies are the perfect twist on a classic shortbread. Adding in cream cheese gives these cookies so much more flavor, and that little bit of tang makes them irresistible.

This cookie recipe is a childhood favorite of my husband, and comes from my wonderful mother-in-law Mary Ann.

image of cream cheese shortbread cookies that have been sprinkled with non pareil spinkles

What is a Shortbread Cookie?

A classic shortbread recipe is made with just 3 ingredients. It uses flour, butter and sugar in a 3:2:1 ratio.

The ratios in this recipe are slightly different because of the cream cheese, but I promise these cookies bake up great!!

image of ingredients laid out on a counter to make cream cheese shortbread cookies

It might feel crazy to make a cookie recipe without eggs, but eggs add a lot of moisture and can ruin the crispy texture of a shortbread cookie.

Shortbread cookies should have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. At the same time, you want them to have a slight crisp when you bite into them.

They should have a consistent texture throughout the cookie.

Making Sure Your Cream Cheese Shortbread Cookies Bake Up Crisp and Tender

When I eat a shortbread cookie I want it to be crisp, tender and buttery.

Now, this isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. Even if you have the best shortbread cookie recipe, so much comes down to how you make the cookie dough.

The first thing to keep in mind is measuring the right amount of flour. Some home bakers tend to really pack flour into their measuring cup. Unfortunately this can cause a person to add a lot more flour to a recipe than it calls for.

I like to use a kitchen scale to be exact, but you can also fluff your flour up in its bag with a spoon, then add spoonfuls into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife.

image of flour being leveled in a measuring cup

It’s also important that you chill your dough. This makes the dough easier to shape and prevents the cookies from over-spreading.

I know it can be hard to be patient, but it’s worth taking the extra time to chill the dough!!

Adding in Some Sprinkles

Plain shortbread is delicious, but its aesthetic isn’t super exciting. While the sprinkles are a totally optional ingredient, I love pop of color they add!

I chose to use nonpareil sprinkles, but rainbow jimmies would work great too.

The sprinkles are added on top of the cookies right before they’re flattened rather than mixed into the dough. This gives you a lot of flexibility around the type of sprinkles you use and how many cookies you add them too.

image of sprinkles being added on top of cream cheese shortbread cookies

You can add sprinkles to some cookies and leave other plain, or have fun using different types of sprinkles.

Tips for Making the Best Cream Cheese Shortbread Cookies:

  • Make sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. They won’t mix together properly if they’re cold.
  • Really cream together the butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar. It helps incorporate air into the dough which makes tender cookies.
  • Don’t overwork your cookie dough once you’ve added in the flour. Mix the flour in slowly and on a low speed just until the flour is incorporated. This will help ensure they up crisp rather than chewy.
  • Flatten your cookies to a consistent thickness of about 1/3 inch. If some are thicker or thinner than others, they may over or under bake.
  • Chill your cookie dough. It helps prevent your cookies from over-spreading while they bake.
  • Don’t over bake your cookies. Err of the side of underbaking your cookies and remember that the cookies continue to bake once they’re out of the oven.
image of cream cheese shortbread cookie dough that's ready to be chilled before being baked.

Making These Cream Cheese Cookies in Advance and Storage Tips

You can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or for up to a week in the fridge.

This cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. I like to move the cookie dough to the fridge the night before I plan to roll it out and bake the cookies.

image of cream cheese shortbread cookies topped with nonpareil sprinkles that's been bitten into to show it's tender texture

Baked cookies can also be frozen! These cookies last for up to 3 month if frozen in an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Move them to the fridge the day before you plan to eat them, then either enjoy them cold out of the fridge or let them sit out at room temperature for a couple hours before serving.

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Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this cream cheese shortbread cookies recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Yield: 16 cookies

Cream Cheese Shortbread Cookies

image of cream cheese shortbread cookies topped with nonpareil sprinkles

These cream cheese shortbread cookies have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture and so delicious! This recipe uses only 5 ingredients and is so easy to make!!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 17 minutes

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Shortbread Cookies

  • 3/4 cup (3/4 of an 8 oz. block) full fat cream cheese, room temperature (170g)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature (170g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (215g)
  • 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles - optional (60g)

Instructions

  1. Mix together 3/4 cup of cream cheese and 3/4 cup butter on a medium-high speed until fully combined.
  2. Add in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix on a medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes lighter in color.
  3. Slowly mix in 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour on a low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as need. The cookie dough should be thick and a bit sticky.
  4. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C and take your cookie dough out of the fridge.
  6. Cut the block of cookie dough into 16 equal sized pieces.
  7. Toss each block of cookie dough in a small bowl filled with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until lightly coated, then use the flat bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie to be about 1/3 inch thick. If your glass is sticking to your cookies as you flatten them, dunk the bottom of the glass in the bowl of granulated sugar.
  8. If desired, sprinkle 1-2 tsp of sprinkles on top of each flattened cookie and gently press them into the cookie using the bottom of the same glass.
  9. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Keep an eye on these cookies, they brown quickly and you don't want to overbake them.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then move them to a wire rack to cool fully. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or for up to a week in the fridge.

Notes

Alterations

Make mini cream cheese shortbread cookies that are half the size! Roll out 32 cookie dough balls and bake for 9-10 minutes at 350 F.

This recipe can also easily be doubled to increase the yield!

Tips to Make The Best Cream Cheese Shortbread Cookies:

  • Make sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. They won't mix together properly if they're cold.
  • Really cream together the butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar. It helps incorporate air into the dough which makes tender cookies.
  • Don't overwork your cookie dough once you've added in the flour. Mix the flour in slowly and on a low speed just until the flour is incorporated. This will help ensure they up crisp rather than chewy.
  • Flatten your cookies to a consistent thickness of about 1/3 inch. If some are thicker or thinner than others, they may over or under bake.
  • Chill your cookie dough. It helps prevent your cookies from over-spreading while they bake.
  • Don't over bake your cookies. Err of the side of underbaking your cookies and remember that the cookies continue to bake once they're out of the oven.

How to Store These Cookies:

You can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or for up to a week in the fridge.

This cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. I like to move the cookie dough to the fridge the night before I plan to roll it out and bake the cookies.

Baked cookies can also be frozen! These cookies last for up to 3 month if frozen in an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Move them to the fridge the day before you plan to eat them, then either enjoy them cold out of the fridge or let them sit out at room temperature for a couple hours before serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 206Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 34mgSodium 103mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 0gSugar 9gProtein 2g

abril

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

hey! i was wondering, if i don't have cream cheese on hand can i substitute it for more butter? or it would not work?

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