Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

crave-worthy-sugar-cookies-1

These cookies are truly crave-worthy: buttery and rich in flavor, with a crisp and sparkly exterior and tender-chewy interior. I discovered the recipe years ago on the King Arthur Flour website, and it’s been my go-to for sugar cookies ever since.

So, what makes these cookies so special? First, they’re made with cream cheese in addition to butter, which makes them tender without the need for vegetable shortening and also adds flavor. Second, they’re made with a touch of almond extract, which lightly perfumes the cookies with the delicate scent of almond.

Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl.



Next, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

And then the egg.

Then mix in the dry ingredients until the dough forms a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.

Pinch off tablespoons of dough and roll in the sugar. Try not to over-roll the balls or make them too smooth; leaving them a little rough gives the cookies a crackled, sparkly appearance.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet, then press them flat with a flat-bottomed glass.

Bake for about ten minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom but still very pale on top.

Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

Servings: 4 dozen
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for rolling cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. Set racks in middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat in the egg. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.
  4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Moisten your hands so the dough doesn't stick to them. Pinch off the dough by tablespoonfuls, shape into rough balls (see note below), roll in the sugar to coat, and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass, flatten the cookies to 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through to ensure even cooking. The cookies will turn golden on the bottom but remain pale on top. Cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel to keep the dough moist between batches.)
  5. Note: Try not to over-roll the cookie dough into smooth balls. Keeping the surface a little rough gives the cookies a crackled, sparkly appearance.

Reviews & Comments

  • Easy & delicious – not too sweet, addictive… every single recipe I have made from this site (and I have made lots) has been a total home run. LOVE Once Upon a Chef…

    - Sheila on April 11, 2014 Reply
    • Thank you, Sheila! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

      - Jenn on April 12, 2014 Reply
  • I used banana & vanilla extract and the cookies taste great!!!!

    - Takeisha on March 11, 2014 Reply
  • PERFECT sugar cookie! Made these the other day and they came out wonderful — the best sugar cookie I’ve ever tasted.

    Not too sweet — I find cookies here in the U.S. are often way too sweet. These are just perfect.

    Soft, chewy, and perfect with a cup of tea, coffee, or as a dessert (or midnight snack!).

    This is now my go-to recipe. Thank you!

    - Dee on December 21, 2013 Reply
  • This has been one of my favorite sugar cookie recipes since I found it a few years ago. They’re perfect!

    - Sharon on November 6, 2013 Reply
  • These are FABULOUS!!! The first pan I flattened them (a little too much!) and I forgot to flatten the next pan. I baked them a minute or two longer and they were wonderful! Can’t wait to make them again and find a happy medium on flattening! Thanks Jennifer!

    - Carol Herndon on July 4, 2013 Reply
  • These certainly live up to their name! I made a batch on Easter and will use this as my recipe for sugar cookies from now on. Loved the hint of almond flavoring in them. I made a simple glaze out of softened butter, confectioners sugar, and milk (with coloring added) for the tops. Thanks, Jenn!

    - Allie on April 2, 2013 Reply
  • I prepared the dough and put it in the fridge for an hour and than rolled it out and cut out heartbshaped cookies with my daughter…they were a hit with her and her cousins!

    - Katzzs on March 18, 2013 Reply
  • Just pulled these out of the oven and quickly tried one (someone had to test them!). I love the hint of almond and the fact that they are not overly sweet. I can’t wait for my son to get home from school so he can try them. Thank you for the recipe. Btw – I used a tablespoon cookie scoop and only yielded 30 cookies.

    - Karen on March 15, 2013 Reply
  • I made the sugar cookies with my girls, they added their touch by adding sprinkles on top. It was very good, I found that it was less sweeter then the store bought. One more thing, why is your sugar cookies come out picture perfect! Thanks for all the great recipes.

    - Liz on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • This cookies were absolutely fabulous! They tasted EVEN better the next day after they had cooled.

    I always learn a new cooking trick from your recipes, thank you for your blog! Your recipes are always spot on!!

    - Caroline on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • I LOVE homemade cookies! Any type, any kind, any shape…well, you get the idea.

    I recently saw on tv a recipe for sugar cookies with cream cheese and thought what a wonderful idea. Then a few days later, your post came out (talk about symmetry!) and I had to try them.

    Lovely! Just the perfect sweetness, without being ‘sweet’ (I don’t like cookies that are too sweet). And I found the almost extract a really nice touch. Just loved these. A hit at my house!

    - Dee on March 12, 2013 Reply
    • Oops, typo — I meant to say ALMOND extract :)

      - Dee on March 12, 2013 Reply
  • These were delicious and are now my go-to sugar cookie too!
    Pressing them down with a glass ensures a uniform, round cookie so they look and taste perfect!

    - Karen on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • Great sugar cookies. The cream cheese is what makes the difference from mine.

    - SheilaAnne on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • These were delicious! I love a good sugar cookie.

    - Beth on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • The best sugar cookies I have ever made!

    - Sharyn on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • Works well with orange or lemon extract, too. Have tried both.

    - Dorothy on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • These are really good just as they are. I was not looking for a crisp cookie and these are very tasty. Thanks for sharing.

    - Judy G on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • My family loved these cookies! They were perfectly chewy right out of the oven! This is a recipe that I will make again, and soon!

    - Marcia on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Reminded me of the cookies my grandmother made for my siblings and I when children, especially the lovely combination of vanilla and almond flavours. The best part of making them is with a child…My little one got up on her step stool, manned the mixer, rolled the balls of dough in the sugar, and had fun flattening them with an old glass cookie press I have from my grandmother…and the continuity continues in the kitchen…

    - Chris on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I made these cookies a few days ago and they did not last long; very yummy with a soft crumb and not overly sweet taste. I did use a small cookie scoop and then flattened a little with a glass dipped in sugar. My grandsons loved them as well.
    I would love to win the Anolon cookware; great giveaway!

    - Linda on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Thanks for this recipe Love it just the way it is.

    - Carol on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • My grand children loved eating and making these cookies.

    - Carolyn on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I liked the texture of these – crisp on the outside but chewy on the inside. That is my kind of cookie! Also, I used low-fat cream cheese and they were great. That was all I had on hand. Next time I will try with full-fat cream cheese.

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Crave worthy is right! I actually chilled the dough and rolled out & used cookie cutters. Will definitely make again!

    - Cherie F. on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Delicious! No need to moisten hands. May try with lemon extract

    - sara on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • These are so good! They were best right out of the oven, still soft.

    - Amanda on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, just wanted to tell you how delicious those sugar cookies are and how much my whole family loved them. Hubby said they were the best cookies he had ever had! I can always count on you for a great recipe. Thanks for sharing-you’re a wonderful cook–I’ve tried them all!!!

    - Judy Claggett on March 7, 2013 Reply
  • Best sugar cookies I ever made. Delicious!

    - Alba on March 6, 2013 Reply
  • Is the cream cheese in the container the same as the brick…can they be used interchangeably in this particular recipe? These look amazing and I will definitely be making them.

    - Karen on March 1, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Karen, I find the cream cheese in the tub to be more spreadable so perhaps there’s some air whipped in but it doesn’t matter in this recipe — either will work. Hope you like them!

      - Jenn on March 3, 2013 Reply
      • Does it matter if you use low fat cream cheese or should you stick to full fat? (I just happen to have an opened block of low fat in my fridge which is why I’m wondering!)

        - Rebecca on March 4, 2013 Reply
        • Hi Rebecca, To be honest, I’ve never tried it with low fat cream cheese. My guess is that it’d work fine, although the cookies may not be as tender once they’re cool. If you try it, please come back and leave a comment and let me know how they turn out. Thanks!

          - Jenn on March 5, 2013 Reply
  • These are the best sugar cookies. I’ve been making the KAF Sugar Cookies for years — always wonderful and I like that I can “drop” them onto a cookie sheet.

    - Carol on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • Are these cookies crisp or soft?

    - NANCY on February 28, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Nancy, Fresh out of the oven they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They crisp up the longer they sit.

      - Jenn on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • I know I can always count on your recipes and advice! These look wonderful and simple; thank you

    - Linda on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • Sometimes I crave just simple sugar cookies that taste amazing! Your recipes are always the best :)

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • Could these be rolled out and then cut with cookie cutters?

    - Shelley Thomas on February 28, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Shelly, The recipe will not work as is rolled out and cut, but the King Arthur website recommends adding 1/2 cup flour to the recipe if you want to roll them out. They will definitely be more crisp with the additional flour.

      - Jenn on February 28, 2013 Reply

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