Soft Cream Cheese Cookies with Nutella Glaze

Extremely soft and thick sugar cookies made with cream cheese and almond extract and topped with creamy Nutella glaze! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s big. Huge. Mega. EXTRAORDINARY.

Not only am I sharing a *new* sugar cookie recipe that blows my regular sugar cookies outta the water (ok, not really… but close), 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 twin boys soon! 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. We’re all posting recipes dedicated to her.

Extremely soft and thick sugar cookies made with cream cheese and almond extract and topped with creamy Nutella glaze! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve been inspired to try a new sugar cookie recipe recently. Maybe it’s because of the 44938 batches of traditional sugar cookies I made last year or because I love my cream cheese sugar cookies so much. And I needed an excuse for Nutella glaze because, well, who doesn’t?

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 sweeeeeet cookie history. Let’s make them!

Ingredients for soft cream cheese cut-out sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 schmear 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!

Cookie dough for soft cream cheese sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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:

Rolling out cream cheese sugar cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Cream cheese heart sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cream cheese heart sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cream cheese heart sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. Shoot for 11-12 minutes or just until the edges are very very very slightly browned.

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

Nutella glaze on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This Nutella Glaze is Very Awesome

My friends and I had a cookie exchange party last month. One of my friends brought almond shortbread cookies adorned with Nutella glaze. It was hands down one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. Mostly in part to the almond extract/Nutella glaze combination. But the Nutella glaze was crazy. Like royal icing, it “set” on top of the cookies, so she could easily stack and transport them. It was sweet, chocolatey, and nutty– and I had to make it myself.

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.

And in case you missed it… 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. ♥

Extremely soft and thick sugar cookies made with cream cheese and almond extract and topped with creamy Nutella glaze! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Extremely soft and thick sugar cookies made with cream cheese and almond extract and topped with creamy Nutella glaze! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

More Recipes for the Mama-to-Be!

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Soft Cream Cheese Cookies with Nutella Glaze

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • 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 until combined. 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 high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts 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. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be very soft and creamy. Make sure you flour your hands, work surface, and rolling pin.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone 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. Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
  6. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using heart cookie cutter, cut into shapes. I used heart cookie cutters. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
  7. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes until VERY lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you 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 cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the Nutella glaze. So 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. Make Ahead Instructions: Plain cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing with glaze on top. You can chill the rolled-out cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (step 5). You can also freeze the cookie dough (before rolling out in step 4) for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling out. Chill for only 30 minutes in step 5 as opposed to 2 hours.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Spatula | Rolling Pin | Silpat Baking Mat | Cookie SheetHeart Cookie Cutters | Frosting Knife
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

122 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. 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. 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!

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