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.

158 Comments

  1. Oh goody, a new sugar cookie recipe! I will for sure try this out next time I am with my mom and we are decorating cookies! This sounds incredible!

    And Nutella glaze? OMG….you are putting me in a predicament because I DO SO LOVE the buttercream frosting…but you say this is amazing and I trust you….so I think I might need to try it too!

    1. Have so much fun decorating these with your mom! And let me know what you think of the Nutella glaze! 🙂

  2. How very cute are these cookies 🙂 Saving to try!

  3. Hi Sally! Could the cookies be made without the almost extract? Thanks!

    1. *almond (autocorrect!)

    2. Yes, definitely! Just leave it out. You can replace with more vanilla extract if you’d like.

  4. My three year old daughter and I made them a couple hours ago for tomorrow’s dance class. And then we ate them all. Delicious!

    1. Yay! Happy to read that!

  5. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Gorgeous cookies, I love that glaze!

  6. Sally, I made these cookies this weekend and they are sooooo good!
    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes with us

  7. I made these today. Delicious! The icing is the perfect complement to the cookie! 

  8. Hi Sally I’m from South Africa and have tried some of your recipes that are amazing. I want to make these cookies for my daughters class mates for Valentine’s Day. When should I make them if I want to package them using royal icing? Also I wanted to add a marble paint effect on them with fondant will it hold? 

    1. Hi Anatasia! Fondant should be fine and you can make these cookies a day or 2 ahead of time. They stay nice and soft if you roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick and bake for only about 11-12 minutes.

  9. I couldn’t get these to roll out, because the dough was so sticky. I thought that I was pretty generous with the flour when I came to that step, but didn’t want over do it. I chilled the dough for a good 4 hours, and it was still sticky. I ended up just rolling balls with my hands and flattening them out with a glass, and they taste wonderful, but I was excited to use cutters for my kiddos. Was I doing something wrong, or should I have really gone for it with the flour?

    1. Hi Kim! Just keep adding more flour so you can neatly roll it out. The cream cheese– did you use full-fat block cream cheese?

      1. hi baking mates ~ I mixed up the dough..refrigerated for 30 min. ..divided into 2 balls, rolled, cut & baked. works like a charm. how easy is that?!
        mindfully – karen

  10. I made these this week. They are so good!  Perfect make ahead instructions. I made the dough two nights ago and cut them out tonight. Highly recommend this recipe! It may be my go to from now on. The cookie itself is not overly sweet so the glaze really enhances the sugar cookie rather than overpower it.  Love it! 

  11. I made these last week, as I was going to visit my step-daughter and she LOVES loves LOVES Nutella. They came out looking just like yours, however I was disappointed in the taste. They were ok, a little dry for my taste. Good with a cup of coffee, but not worth the calories. I was massively disappointed. Especially as I tasted the dough pre cooking (who doesn’t !) and it was delicious!!

    🙁

  12. Hi Sally, if i use the mini heart cookie cutters, should those bake for a different time than the larger heart shapes?

    1. Hi Liss! It’s around the same bake time, maybe a minute less… if that. Just keep your eye on them.

  13. Hi Sally, I was thinking of trying this amazing-sounding Nutella glaze on a batch of your chocolate sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day. (Have you tried this already? Is it good?) I’m not sure how the sizes of the recipes compare though. Since this recipe makes enough glaze for ~36 cookies and the chocolate sugar cookie recipe only makes ~18 cookies, should I cut the Nutella glaze recipe in half?

    1. I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but I expect the combo to be GREAT! I think halving this glaze recipe is best.

  14. Would this be good with another frosting or glaze? I love the cream cheese cookies idea (have some bricks from christmas baking i didn’t use) so would love to make these, but (sorry!) actually not a nutella fan really. Plus it’s kind of pricey too! I was thinking just buttercream frosting spread thinly, or a typical royal icing.

    1. Absolutely! In fact, I made them this week and decorated with my vanilla buttercream this morning.

  15. These are phenomenal! The cream cheese adds a nice lightness to the cookie and they are incredibly soft. This recipe is going directly in my favourites!

  16. MissChanandlerBong says:

    I am definitely trying these. My step mom used to make cookies with cream cheese which were awesome! And this 30 years ago and on the other part of the world – in Bulgaria! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Can you chill the dough before shaping the cookies, and then roll them out and bake them? Or will I need to chill them again invest they are shaped for two hours or so?
    Thank you! 🙂

    1. Oops, I meant once* not invest!

    2. The dough it very difficult to roll out once it’s chilled so it’s much easier to roll it out first!

  18. Made these today for my grandsons. Topped some with Nutella glaze, and some with vanilla buttercream in white, pink, and red.  Used a few heart shaped sprinkles. Beautiful and yummy!!

  19. This is my new sugar cookie recipe! The only quibble was that I found the almond extract to be overpowering, so I’ll cut that way back the next time. I may also experiment with ways to amp up the Nutella flavor in the glaze – it seemed to be a bit lost in the sugar and cream.

  20. BEST COOKIES EVER!!! 

  21. I was wondering if I could roll the dough in a log shape, refrigerate and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices to bake? This would be easier than rolling and cutting the dough… I plan to make these this week!!!

    1. I haven’t personally tried it yet, but want to. Let me know how they turn out! I think they’ll be great.

      1. Thank you so much for having Sally’s Baking Addiction!  This is my “ go to” any time I plan to bake!  The lemon blueberry cake may be my favorite!  Thank you for sharing your love of baking, and delicious recipes, with us!!!

  22. If making the dough ahead of time and freezing, can the dough be chilled, cut with cookie cutter and then frozen? I would use parchment paper to avoid sticking.

    1. Yes, absolutely.

  23. Lauren @ Lemon & Mocha says:

    These cookies look so good! I have one quick question – would I be able to use 1/3 less fat cream cheese or would you recommend I stick with the full fat? Thank you!

    1. Thanks Lauren! For best flavor and texture, I recommend full fat cream cheese. But you can get away with lower fat cream cheese.

  24. These cookies look delicious, actually all of your cookies look delicious, but my question is about the plate you have them displayed on. Can you give me any information about it?

    1. Hi Susan! Thank you so much. I bought it from the Pioneer Woman line, sold at Walmart. It’s so beautiful and great quality for the price!

  25. I am SO LOOKING forward to making these cookies for my Nutella loving friends! BUT…HEY..you had me at “Go Eagles!”

  26. Thank you so much for this recipe! The cookies came out really well, so soft and not overly sweet which I really liked – definitely going to be the sugar cookie recipe I use now. Excited to decorate them too! 🙂

  27. Hey Sally, I just had to tell you I just finished a batch of these cookies and wow! I used Fiori Di Sicilian in place of he almond extract and the cookies almost melted in my mouth. I used it in the Royal Icing as well. I’ve been trying recipes for Super Bowl ( football shaped of course) I don’t need to try any others.
    PS
    Ya know? At 73 i’ve Learned so much from your tricks, tips and recipe than I have all the years I’ve baked. Started at age 5. Lol
    Candi

  28. Michelle Loprieno says:

    What is the best way to get frost the cookies? Do you spread it on using a knife or do you pipe it on? thank you!

    1. Hi Michelle! Use a knife for this nutella glaze. That’s what I do!

  29. Jennifer Doody says:

    I made the dough for these last night (Sunday) and was going to bake them today (Monday). We will be giving them out for Valentines on Thursday and I’m just reading the cookies only last a few days. Sooooo what counts as a few days? Should I remake the dough?

    1. These stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  30. One word: DELICIOUS! Simply irresistible! I can tell by the photos that these cookies are melt-in-your mouth perfection, Nutella is just icing on the cookie. 🙂

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