Soft Cream Cheese Cookies with Nutella Glaze

heart sugar cookies with Nutella glaze

Not only am I sharing a *new* sugar cookie recipe that blows my regular sugar cookies outta the water, I’m also joining a few other friends to throw Lindsay a virtual baby shower. You know Lindsay from her stunning blog packed with beautiful layer cakes and other sweet treats. She’s the best. And she’s expecting! Lindsay and her husband have been very open about their long and emotional journey towards pregnancy, a story that may hit home with readers out there. They were blessed with the news of twin boys and Lindsay has shared updates of her high risk pregnancy on her blog. Friends and I are so excited to celebrate Lindsay and her expanding family today.

stack of heart sugar cookies with Nutella glaze

Today’s cut-out sugar cookies are the softest, thickest, and creamiest sugar cookies to ever come out of my oven. This is a bold statement, but they set a new standard for sugar cookies. Here’s why I’m calling them my new favorite:

  • The dough is so easy to work with
  • Cookies hold their shape beautifully
  • Literally the softest sugar cookies
  • A little tang, a little sweet
  • Almond extract because it’s miraculous in sugar cookies
  • Each bite is smooth and creamy
  • Nice flat surface for decorating

I took my regular cream cheese sugar cookies, added more cream cheese and a little extra flour, rolled the dough out, crossed my fingers this would actually work, and the rest is cookie history. I actually use this same dough to make raspberry sugar cookies, too.

ingredients for soft cream cheese sugar cookies including butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg, and almond extract

My #1 Cream Cheese Rule

Use the right cream cheese. Don’t reach for cream cheese spread sold in a tub. You know the stuff you spread on your bagels? Not that. You want the actual blocks/bricks of cream cheese. Cream cheese spread is much thinner and meant for spreading. The 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese are perfect for cooking and baking. I use cream cheese a lot in my kitchen. You’ll need 4 ounces, half of an 8-ounce block.

The sugar cookie dough, made from 8 staple ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, and egg is thick and creamy. You know you’re in for a treat when a cookie recipe starts with a super soft cookie dough like this!

cream cheese sugar cookie dough in a glass bowl

My Roll-Out Trick

This is my tried-and-true trick when it comes to sugar cookies and we’re using the same technique again here. After you make the cookie dough, divide the dough in half. Roll each half out and chill them in the refrigerator. So we’re rolling the cookie dough out BEFORE chilling it, which isn’t typical for most sugar cookie recipes. The dough is so much easier to roll out before it’s chilled.

Why are we chilling it though? So the cookies keep their shape when baked.

And why divide in 2? Because it’s difficult to roll out a huge mass of dough. Dividing into smaller sections makes rolling out more manageable. Got it?

Since this is a very soft cookie dough, make sure you flour your hands, rolling pin, and work surface. Here’s half of the dough rolled out:

cream cheese sugar cookie dough rolled out onto a silpat baking mat

You’ll roll out the doughs to 1/4-inch thickness. I like to roll it out directly on a silicone baking mat. Why? Because you have to chill the rolled out dough in the fridge. And you can’t really pick up dough that you rolled out on the counter, right? Nor can you cut into shapes when the dough is this warm. So roll out on a nonstick surface that you can literally pick up, put on a baking sheet, and place in the fridge. So… make dough, divide in 2, roll out, chill. Got it?

After the dough has chilled, let’s cut into shapes. Hearts, preferably. Because heart sugar cookies are so darn cute!! (Here is the heart cookie cutter set I have.) But you can use any shape.

cutting heart cookie shapes with a cookie cutter from rolled out sugar cookie dough

sugar cookie dough hearts on a baking sheet before baking

heart sugar cookies without icing on a baking sheet

The cookies don’t spread much when they’re baking, so they should stay around 1/4 inch thick. That’s a thick sugar cookie! Be sure not to over-bake these cream cheese cookies as they’ll lose their softness.

So we’ve got a big batch of plain sugar cookies on our hands. What to do next?

Nutella glaze in a glass bowl

Nutella Glaze

Made from 5 ingredients: Nutella, heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and a little salt. Very very simple. Nutella is super sticky and thick so it’s easiest to use a mixer to beat all of these ingredients together.

This Nutella glaze will set on top of the cookies. It won’t become hard or anything, but it will set making the cookies convenient to stack, store, transport, give to your Nutella-loving Valentine, etc. Spread this icing on cupcakes and breads and muffins and donuts and your spoon. There’s no limits when it comes to Nutella glaze. ♥

heart sugar cookies with Nutella glaze on a baking sheet

heart sugar cookies with Nutella glaze on a blue plate

Print
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heart sugar cookies with Nutella glaze on a blue plate

Soft Cream Cheese Cookies with Nutella Glaze

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 36 3-inch cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Extremely soft and thick sugar cookies made with cream cheese and almond extract and topped with creamy Nutella glaze.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (390g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 ounces (112g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Nutella Glaze

  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup (100g) Nutella
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • optional: 1/2 cup (60g) chopped hazelnuts for garnish

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat until mixture is fluffy and combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Dough will be very soft and creamy.
  4. Generously flour your hands and rolling pin. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Lightly dust one of the rolled-out doughs with flour. Place a piece of parchment on top. (This prevents sticking.) Place the 2nd rolled-out dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  6. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. (I like these heart cookie cutters.) Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. Note: It doesn’t seem like a lot of dough, but you get a lot of cookies from the dough scraps you re-roll.
  7. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes until very lightly browned around the edges. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. I like to decorate the cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the Nutella glaze. If you’d like to do it that way, place the cooled cookies back on baking sheets.
  8. Make the glaze: In a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the ingredients together on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste. Add another pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Spread on each cooled cookie then decorate with hazelnuts, if desired. Nutella glaze will set at room temperature after 3-4 hours and even quicker in the refrigerator, about 1 hour.
  9. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 3, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 4, then chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
  2. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

156 Comments

  1. Made without the glaze and used buttercream to ice. These are hands-down the very best cookies our family has ever eaten. They will leave a lasting impression!

  2. Hi Sally, I always used this recipe everytime I need a decorated sugar cookies. Erything On this recipe is perfect . Now I have a question how can I turn this into a chocolate one? Please and thank you in advance.

    1. That is a great question! This is my go-to chocolate sugar cookie recipe, but it doesn’t use cream cheese: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/chocolate-sugar-cookies/ They do stay nice and soft and the flavor is fantastic.
      Now I have to go experiment with a chocolate cream cheese cookie!

  3. Hi Sally! I found this recipe a little late in the game and am incredibly excited to use it this weekend for a Halloween cookie decorating party! I just have one question–I tend to have a bad reaction to almond extract and was wondering if 1 tsp maple extract in its place might be an interesting sub? I saw you mentioned that almond can be subbed with more vanilla, but I thought this might add a fun zing! Do you think this could be a good idea or would it compromise/overpower the cookie’s flavor?

    1. HI Kristen, I haven’t tested these with maple extract but I can’t see how that would taste bad! Let me know if you try it!

      1. Hi Sally, your recipe was an absolute hit!! The maple swap went over very well, too–I tested two batches and found that if you swap just the 1 tsp there won’t be too much of a detectable difference, but if you opt for 2 tsp maple and 1 tsp vanilla, you end up with a nice discernible but not overpowering maple zing–guests said it reminded them of a warm pancake! To your point earlier in the recipe, guests loved the softness of the cookie and that their level of sweetness was perfectly complemented by the icing. Thank you so much!

  4. Samantha Sweezy says:

    Hi Sally! I just found your blog and am loving all the recipes and especially the tips! I had no idea baking powder expired after 6 months! I’m embarrassed to say how long it has been sitting in my pantry! HA! Question for you though, on your cream cheese cookies, could lemon extract be substituted for the almond? I am not doing the Nutella glaze, but using your traditional royal icing instead. I would like to give it that hint of lemon flavoring and wasn’t quite sure. I am doing a cookie exchange and need to make 10 dozen, so want to make sure they are out of this world! Thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. Hi Samantha, Welcome to the blog! You can certainly try to substitute the almond with lemon. I suggest making one batch and trying them before making all 10 – and then adjusting the amount of lemon accordingly depending on how strong you would like the flavor. Let me know how they turn out!

  5. Hi Sally!
    Can i use half the dough for cinnamon slice and bake cookies and the other to make plain cut out ones?

    1. I haven’t personally tested it, but I can’t see why not!

      1. They turned out marvelous!! Pap’s loved it and i can say that i do too.
        I rolled out the dough that was supposed to be for cut outs then put it in the fridge for a few minutes while i prepped the butter and made the filling. I spread 1 tbsp of melted butter on the surface then sprinkled the sugar and cinnamon filling.
        Made some yesterday to taste and i am making the second batch at the moment. They taste so good with coffee or tea! Very impressive.
        Thank you Sally!

  6. Hi Sally! I’ve been following your awesome sites for quite a while now and I enjoy all the wonderful recipes! Two questions- for the soft cream cheese cookies, can these be shipped as well as your regular sugar cookies? And did you find out how to make these into chocolate ones?

    1. Hi Rose, I do have a chocolate sugar cookie recipe, but I have not yet tested the cream cheese chocolate cookie. For shipping cookies you can check out this post on how I wrap them. Sugar cookies are a bit more fragile so some people put a layer of padding such as bubble wrap between the layers.

  7. Hello Sally! On your soft cream cheese cookies, have you ever decorated them with your royal icing recipe? I tend to use a buttercream with mine, but wondering if they would decorate well and taste good with the royal icing. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lisa, Yes you can absolutely use royal icing on these cookies. Enjoy!

  8. I made a test batch of these and my Nutella glaze came out more like a thick frosting. It was very hard to spread. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Elizabeth, If your glaze is too thick you can add a bit more heavy cream (1 TBS at a time) until it becomes your desired consistency. Just keep in mind the more liquid you add the longer it may take for the glaze to harden.

  9. Hi! I made the dough tonight- do I have to roll out in parchment to refrigerate overnight, or could I just refrigerate the whole batch in the bowl and roll out to 1/4 thickness tomorrow before we cut out?

    1. Yes, roll the dough out right after you prepare it.

      1. Can I kill purpose flour can be substitute by others?

  10. The cookies are so-so, certainly not my favorite from Sally! And unless the measurements are wrong for the icing, it was way too hard and not speadable, couldnt even mix it! Had to add WAY more cream! Sallys baking addiction always has my fav recipes and always usually turn out, not this time! Thanks though Sally, LOVE your site the BEST!!

  11. These cookies are delicious! You can taste the hint of cream cheese (I love cream cheese.), which tastes really good, but if you’re looking for a traditional frosted sugar cookie this wouldn’t be the one for you, in my opinion. They are just kind of a delicious new twist, but they are different from regular sugar cookies. Great recipe, though! Yum!

    1. Hi Sally, I made these for Valentines Day and they came out perfect and soooo good. I’m wondering. Since rolling out the dough took a whole rack in my frig (worth it for cookie cutters), I’m wondering if I could separate the dough into two “tube shapes,” refrigerate it, and cut 1/4 inch cookies. It would be easier to leave the dough in overnight. Thank you for all the joy you bring. I made your bagels for the third time, this time with onions, and they get better and better. I made them because I had cream cheese left over from the cookies! Best to you and your family.

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Nancy, can’t see why not — let us know if you try it, and thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes!

  12. These are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever made and absolutely perfect for cookie decorating! I hope you make a chocolate version soon!

  13. These cookies were amazing!! Made zero changes and were so easy.

    I don’t like chocolate much though, so I did make a peanut butter cream cheese frosting instead. I subbed out the 1/3 cup Nutella for the peanut butter, added an ounce of cream cheese and about a 1/4 cup more icing sugar and another tablespoon of milk. Delicious on top of the soft, melty cookies!

  14. jeannie printz says:

    I’ve been baking cookies for 60 years and these are the best!

  15. What would you suggest as some alternative icings for this cookie recipe? Royal icing, buttercream? I make your sugar cookie recipe all the time. I have some cream cheese I need to use up before it expires and this looks like an awesome cookie recipe to try. Don’t want to run to store for one missing ingredient, Nutella.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer! Royal icing or Easy Icing would both be perfect on these cookies.

  16. They baked beautifully but unfortunately I found the almond taste to be overwhelming! The cream cheese frosting was delicious and I didn’t have any trouble with the cookies spreading.

  17. Add my vote for this as the perfect sugar cookie recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and the results were wonderful with rave reviews from everyone who ate them. I used different frosting, but the cookie itself is everything one could want. It holds its shape, stays fresh and soft and tastes delicious. Having tried many of Sally’s recipes, I can say that I have such high confidence that, if you follow the directions, you will achieve the best baking results you’ve ever had. I sure did!

  18. Fair warning: These cookies are so light and delicious that it is VERY easy to consume multiple in just a few minutes!! My boyfriend and I were obsessed with the soft and thick texture of these, not to mention the flavor was amazing! I used coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar and they were still amazing, a slightly more tan color though as to be expected! My only issue I ran into was that the rolled out cookie dough completely stuck to the parchment paper after being refrigerated…but I easily resolved the issue by breaking it apart off the paper and re-rolling it out. The cookies still held their shape just fine after baking them! These have by far been my favorite homemade cookies. Will be making these again this week for my boyfriend’s family and mom’s co-workers as a nice Valentines treat 🙂 Thank you Sally I absolutely love your recipes!!

  19. Hello Sally! My daughter is dying to make the stained glass window cookies & I wondered will this recipe work with the “stained glass” idea or is it too soft? I thought we would make some with windows and some with the hazelnut topping for Valentine’s Day.

    We have quite the little baker on our hands and she loves to watch your videos on YouTube! She especially likes the ones where you explain the recipes. We bake together on the weekends and she always asks to watch “Sally’s Bakin’ Addition”. It’s precious! Thanks for making content we can enjoy together. <3

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sara, this recipe should work just fine for stained glass cookies. Would love to hear how they go for you!

  20. Hi Sally,
    These look amazing! I just have one quick question – when you say that the “nutella glaze will set”, does that mean it won’t spread onto the other cookies if placed in a tupperware? I have just started baking and found a passion for it thanks to your recipes, so I’m still learning and don’t know the terms well yet.
    Thanks!
    – Kare

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kare, absolutely. It won’t become hard or anything, but it will set enough to make the cookies convenient to stack, store, transport, etc. Hope they’re a hit!

  21. These were easy and so delicious!!!!
    Definitely will be making them from now on
    Thank you for the recipe

  22. I’m not normally a huge sugar cookie fan, but these are a true exception! I frosted them with cream cheese buttercream and they’re out of this world! Made them for Valentine’s Day, but I doubt they’ll last that long 😉

  23. Making these as Valentine’s gifts for all my girlfriends! Adore your blog & your recipes are always perfect, thank you!

  24. This cookies were very easy to make. they rolled out beautifully and I had no trouble cutting out different shapes. However I was vert disappointed with the Nutella glaze. It was so thick and very difficult to spread. I used half of it and made a cream cheese frosting which worked much better.
    mimilynn

  25. I have made SO many cookies from this site and they are all amazing. I was starting to think I’d met all of the show stoppers of Sally’s but honestly these are like witchcraft. I just made them for Valentine’s Day ‘for my family’ and I keep pairing down the lot I am going to gift because they are just so perfect. extra soft cookie with a layer of everyone’s fav chocolate spread (although I did use a palm oil free alternative). the salt portions were perfect (I added ‘to taste’ as per the recipe with the glaze). I feel my pants tightening and my teeth cracking but it’s so worth it. THANK YOU!

  26. Hi Sally! You are my baking guru- I’ve been following you and trying your recipes for years! This one turned out great in the end, but I just thought it worth mentioning: after I made the dough, I absolutely could not roll it out – it was way too sticky. Maybe I softened the butter and cream cheese too long. I was about to give up as I’m use to sugar cookie failure by now. But I figured I’d try chilling the dough for just a little bit. I left it in the fridge for 30 minutes, and that made the dough just perfect for rolling out. Cookies turned out beautifully from there! I did not have time to make the extra cookies that came from the remnants of the dough, so I rolled them into two balls and stuck them in my fridge. Do you think this dough will work okay if i let it sit out for awhile to get to room temperature, roll out, and refrigerate for 2 hours again? Any other glaze recipes since I used up all of my Nutella?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leslie! Yes, you can use the leftover dough to roll more cookies. You may love this easy icing recipe!

  27. These were easier than I thought they would be. Made beautiful and tasty & perfectly soft Easter eggs. Thank you! (Used your royal icing recipe too!) I shared a pic on insta I was so proud!

  28. Penny Barry says:

    I love this original recipe but wanted to see how it would do with lemon. I took out the vanilla and almond extract and added about a tablespoon of lemon zest and probably almost 1 1/2 teas of lemon juice. It was delicious. Its also delicious with the Nutella but i was looking for something with lemon this time and I love this cookie texture. I’ve also tried the recipe using the freeze dried strawberries! LOVE IT!

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