christmas · cookies

Christmas Cream Cheese Cookies – 3 Ways!

This cookie dough is one of the more brilliant things I have ever seen.  It is a simple, cream cheese, shortbread-ish dough, that, divided into thirds and a few things added to each dough makes three different unique Christmas cookies that nobody would ever know you used the same batch of dough for.

From this one batch of dough, I made 2 dozen cranberry orange white chocolate cookies, 2 dozen almond thumbprints, and 2 dozen plain thumbprints.

So easy, so beautiful, a new staple for my Christmas baking day.

This is a very forgiving dough, it holds its shape really well- you could cut it into shapes with a cookie cutter if you wanted to, and experiment with adding all kinds of different things to it.

Recipe adapted from TasteandTellBlog


  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • Mixers:
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • The zest of one orange
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
  • salted almonds, chopped finely
  • raspberry jam
  • orange marmalade (or other jam of your choice)
  • Instructions
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and the butter together until fluffy. Add the sugar beat another minute. Add the vanilla and mix well.
    • Measure the flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and level off the top with the back of a butter knife. Sift the flour and add to the cream cheese mixture a little at a time while mixing on low speed.
    • Divide the dough into 3 sections. Remove one third of the dough and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Add the orange zest and cranberries to one section, and add 1/2 cup of chopped almonds to the other section.  Shape those sections of dough into separate disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.
    • Roll out each disk on a lightly floured cutting board to about ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes.  I cute the cranberry orange dough into rectangular “bars.” Shape the remaining disks into small 1 ½ inch balls and press your thumb into the middle of each ball to make “thumbprint” cookies.
    • Roll the sides of some of the thumbprints in chopped nuts. Spoon a tiny bit of jam or marmalade into the center of the thumbprint.
    • Bake the different shapes on separate pans so that they will cook evenly.
    • Bake for 12 to 17 minutes depending on the size or thickness of the cookies. Start checking the dough after 12 minutes. Remove when lightly brown and cool on wire racks.
    • Drizzle melted white chocolate/shortening over the tops of the cranberry orange cookies.

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