These Chocolate Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are rich in chocolate flavor and are incredibly soft thanks to cream cheese! The cookies are sturdy and will keep their shape when cut into different shapes and sizes. And, what better way to frost the cookies than with a sweet and creamy cream cheese frosting.
Valentine’s Day Cookies
I struggle every year on what to make my dear Husband for Valentine’s Day. Scratch that. I struggle every year on whether I should make something or just buy it. But, I suppose because he is my husband and #1 taste-tester, I took a spin on the regular ‘ol sugar cookie and kept my fingers crossed that he liked these.
Full disclosure: we go out to dinner for Valentine’s day and I am totally ok with someone else making my dessert.
Full disclosure #2: I’m not a big fan of sugar cookies. No matter how I try to jazz them up, they always leave me wanting more than the flat, semi-flavor cookies they are. And the royal icing is not in my top 10 of favs either. That said, I guess I have to figure out an alternative to the sugar cookie that I do want to eat and not feel bad about having a dozen of them sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be eaten.
Fast forward to these cookies … let’s just say the smaller cut-outs I made did not last through the evening.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
What made these Chocolate Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies so much better? The cream cheese. I finally found a way to make the sugar cookie soft, thick and full of flavor. The other thing that made these cookies now rank in my top 10? The cream cheese frosting.
Starting with the cookie, the base is 100% sugar cookie with the addition of cocoa to make it a chocolate sugar cookie. And, when you add in a little cream cheese, you get a cookie that is sturdy enough to hold its shape and has a chocolatey, sugary-sweet, tangy flavor. Finally! And, it does not have a strange crunchy and raw texture – it is soft all the way through. Yes, you do have to like a soft cookie, but if you wanted one that is a little crunchier, roll them a little thinner or you can bake them a little longer.
Making Soft Sugar Cookies
You do have to chill this dough. And I’m a fan of chilling cookie dough. I’d rather wait to have a properly baked cookie than rush through a recipe. Another tip: roll and cut your cookies on the silicone mat or parchment paper you are using to line your cookie sheet. You will avoid tearing or putting a big thumbprint on the cut-out cookie when you transfer it to its baking home.
Sugar Cookie Cream Cheese Frosting
For my favorite part of these Chocolate Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies – the frosting – it really is simple. Cream cheese and powdered sugar are the essence of this frosting and thanks to baking science, the powdered sugar helps to make this frosting a little ‘stiff’. So, you can carefully stack them as needed in a cookie Tupperware. I would still be careful doing this, it is cream cheese frosting after all, and it will not harden as royal icing does (which is why I call it a frosting vs. icing). This frosting does not give you the opportunity to do fun flooding and icing designs, but you can improvise your decorations with sprinkles and colors.
I have seen recipes that say you can store these cookies at room temp, but I prefer not to. It is cream cheese in the frosting and while the sugar may help to neutralize some of the compounds in the dairy that may go bad, I simply do not trust that enough. Besides, the frosted cookies out of the fridge are yuummm-yy.
More Valentine’s Day Desserts For Two
- Chocolate Pots de Crème For Two
- Chocolate Orange Gluten Free Tarts
- Classic Mini Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Mini Cakes with Marshmallow Filling
- Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Mini No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake
Chocolate Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles of your choice
For the frosting
- In a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth – about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat on low speed for 20 seconds then increase to high speed until frosting is completely combined and creamy.
- If the frosting is too sweet to the taste, mix in a pinch of salt. Keep the frosting refrigerated until ready to use.
For the cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until pale in color and fluffy. Next, add the egg and vanilla extract and mix on high speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Turn the stand mixer to low, and slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. The dough will be sticky – this is ok.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- When the dough is chilled, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350o degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Lightly flour a work surface, or lightly flour the parchment paper or silicone mats used for the baking sheets. Rolling and cutting the dough on the liner of your baking sheets will make rolling, cutting and transferring the cookie dough cut-out much easier.
- Roll the dough thick – about 3/8 inch thick. I keep a ruler handy whenever I roll out cookies to help with measuring the thickness.
- You can lightly dust your cookie cutters with cocoa powder if necessary before cutting the dough. If you are cutting your cookies directly on your baking pan liners (the parchment paper or silicone mat), space your cuts leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. Also, cut the same size cookies on each baking pan so the cookies bake at the same time. If you mix large and small cookies, the smaller cookies will inevitably get over-baked.
- You can use a small pastry brush to brush off any flour or extra cocoa powder off the cut-out cookies.
- If your cookie dough and cut-outs are no longer chilled, place the dough and cut cookies back into the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes. It is important the dough is chilled when going into the oven to keep them from spreading too much and staying nice and thick.
- Bake one baking sheet at a time. Bake the cookies until the edges are set and the centers are still soft but do not leave a fingerprint when lightly touched – about 10-11 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Re-roll and cut remaining cookie dough. You will probably have a few scraps left, which can be discarded. Make sure the used baking sheets have cooled down before putting on the dough to bake the next batch. While you are waiting for your cookies and baking sheets to cool from the oven, this is a good time to stick the remaining cookie dough back into the refrigerator to keep chilled.
- Make sure the cookies are completely cool before frosting and decorating.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container and keep refrigerated (if using cream cheese frosting), for up to 1 week.