Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cheesecake Cookies

Earlier this month, my department had its annual holiday party and team building event. Instead of doing a Secret Santa exchange, we decided to all write down our favorite drink, appetizer and dessert. Then, we all randomly picked a piece of paper and had to make or buy one of the items on the list. Now this is my type of gift exchange! Of course I got the one with the dessert I don't make - cheesecake! You see, I can't give something to someone without it being homemade. It's just against my cooking religion. I was so torn and going back and forth on what to do. I was drowning in final projects and preparing for finals week and just couldn't find the time to research what to do. I even asked my husband if he would make a cheesecake (he makes the BEST cheesecakes EVER), but it was too short of notice and I really wanted to have the time to learn from him. Ugh. Baking problems!

Then a miracle happened. I sat down for a few minutes and came across how I could still make a cheesecake, but in a different form. And one that would not take two days to make or take hours for the cream cheese to soften. That may be why I don't make real cheesecakes. I am impatient and can't wait hours and hours (and more hours) for the cream cheese to soften. But that's a whole other story. Nevertheless, I came across a fabulous recipe for cheesecake cookies! I had looked for something like this before, but nothing looked this good or was even close to what I needed. How did I not see these before? They were literally cheesecake cookies. The cookies have graham cracker crumbs in batter and are filled with a cheesecake filling. They are pretty much a cheesecake thumbprint cookie that is out of this world delicious. And they taste just like cheesecake!

A cookie that taste like cheesecake and is easier to make than cheesecake? Heck yes. These cookies really are simple to make and a whole batch was made and baked within 40 minutes. Now that's what I'm talking about. The batter is simple to make and the best part, no chilling the dough. A lot of thumbprint style cookies require you to chill  the dough for a least an hour after making it, if not more. No one has time for that. At least I don't. I want cookies now! Once the dough is all ready to go, you scoop it out and make an indentation in the top to hold the cheesecake filling goodness. While a thumb works pretty well for this part of the process, I would recommends using a measuring teaspoon. This seemed to give me a good size indent and didn't cause cookie dough to get all under my nails. Win win. I would also suggest saving a bit of graham cracker crumbs for here. Before you indent the cookie, dip the teaspoon in the grahams. This way, the cookies won't stick and you can get them all done in a flash! That's just my two cents though. Flour or brown sugar would work just fine here too.

You can enjoy these cheesecake cookies just as they are or fancy them up a bit. You can top them with a cherry pie filling, drizzle with caramel or chocolate or even add fresh fruit of your choice. How good would chopped strawberries be on these? Mmm. No matter how you enjoy these wonderful cookies, you are sure to love them. I know my secret santa cheesecake cookie recipient did!

mmm, cookies!

Cheesecake Cookies (slightly varied from My Baking Addiction)

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
4 ounces of softened cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray.

In a stand mixer, add the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. About three minutes. Then add in the egg white and mix until combined. Once mixed well, add in the graham cracker crumbs flour and baking powder. Once the batter is ready, you'll need to make the filling. In another bowl,. add the cream cheese and sugar and mix until it's nice and creamy. Then add in the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out the dough leaving about an inch between cookies. Once you've scooped out all the cookies, you'll need to make an indent in the tops to hold the cheesecake filling. You can use your thumb or a teaspoon. Then, fill each of the cookies with the cheesecake filling. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the filling is just set and the cookies are slightly browned on the top. Enjoy!

Cheesecake in a cookie form? Heck yes!

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