These are tea cookies, plain and simple.
I am a huge lover of cheesecake. I am also a huge lover of cookies.
Mix the two together and, well, I lose my marbles.
This recipe is so easy. If you aren’t a “baker”, rest assured this is one that is really hard for you to screw up.
The cookie has all the flavor characteristics of a classic cheesecake: cream cheese, vanilla, touch of lemon, graham cracker crumbs, and cinnamon.
As far as texture goes, yes there is flour in the cookie mix, but do not expect them to have a traditional cookie crumb. The flour in the recipe is just enough for the cheesecake to hold its shape and the graham cracker coating also helps it keep a round, cookie shape.
I had an idea to roll a maraschino cherry in the middle of one batch. While it tasted good, it just didn’t LOOK good. They kind of looked like tiny, cheesecake UFOs. If you’re baking these for home consumption and really dig the cherry idea, go for it. If you are taking these to a party, might I suggest you finely dice the cherries so that they bake flat?
Okay, fine. Here is a picture of my UFO cookies:
So, sometimes my spur of the moments don’t really work out that great. Oh well.
I promise you, though. You will L-O-V-E these cheese cake cookies.
I took one sleeve of graham crackers, threw them in my food processor, and set them aside.
Decorative charger salvaged from Target clearance bin is optional:
Beat the snot out of your cream cheese, butter, and sugar:
Once smooth, you will beat in 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, and 2 cups of flour.
Your batter should be “rollable” (like a firm sugar cookie dough) and look like this:
Pinch off enough dough to make 1 1/2″ circles:
Toss to coat with graham cracker crumbs.
Might I suggest investing in disposable gloves if you are sharing your treats?
Yes, I realize I have none on in this picture, but this was for demo purposes only:
Roll dough into a round ball:
These cookies spread slightly, so leave at least two inches between the balls. Bake for about 12-14 minutes. Serve at room temperature:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces Neufchatel (reduced fat cream cheese)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 cups flour
1 sleeve of graham cracker crumbs (or about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together your graham cracker crumbs with the ground cinnamon and set aside.
3.Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.
4.Add sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
5.Using a slower speed, mix in the flour until just incorporated.
6. Using a Tablespoon, scoop out enough dough to make a ball about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Drop this ball into the graham cracker mixture and roll around to coat.
7. Roll into a smoother ball and place on a cookie sheet. Do not flatten; these cookies will spread into the perfect circle.
8. Bake in the oven for about 12 – 14 minutes, or until the edges are just slightly brown.
A few notes:
– Do NOT overcook these or they will get hard. Bake them until set and graham cracker crumbs are slightly browned. You may think these are undercooked, but keep in mind they are supposed to be “cheesecake” in texture.
– I kept my cooked, cooled cookies in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving for best flavor.
I hope you enjoy these!