Friends I’ve landed most certainly on my favorite snickerdoodle recipe! These are fancy pants doods! We’re stuffing them with cheesecake and not making a single apology about it. Essentially the very best sugar cookie is made even better with a surprise filling.
There are few things I love more than the thick cream cheese portion of store-bought coffee cake (or store-bought King Cakes during Mardi Gras!). Where the dough meets the cream cheese – everything is soft, cheesy, and right with the world. IYKYK. Cream cheese and pastry might actually be one of the reasons I became a baker in the first place. These cookies embody that gooey spirit, with a crisp, cinnamon spiced exterior.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this snickerdoodle recipe:
• unsalted butter, softened to room temperature. If you’re curious, here’s why we use unsalted butter.
• brown sugar and granulated sugar – 1 cup sugar total.
• baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and kosher salt. Cream of tartar is an important ingredient in snickerdoodles. Cream of tartar is a dry acid and when combined with baking soda, we essentially have baking powder which works to keep these cookies soft and chewy.
• vanilla or butterscotch instant pudding (!!) A bit of an odd ingredient for cookies but the pudding keeps the cookies soft, tender, and chewy- intensifying the taste and improving the texture of these cookies!
• 1 large egg for the cookie dough and 1 large egg yolk for the cheesecake filling. Here’s why we use large eggs in baking.
• powdered sugar
• vanilla extract
• all-purpose flour (whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl first!)
• cinnamon-sugar mixture in a small bowl for coating the cookie dough.
Let’s start by making the cheesecake filling for the center of our cookies:
Whisk together softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, an egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla. The mixture will be soft and stretchy.
The cream cheese filling needs to chill before it goes into the center of the cookies. There are a few ways to do this. You can scoop teaspoon sized potions onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate them. (That’s what’s pictured above.) OR you can just refrigerate the entire bowl of filling and scoop it into the cookies after the entire mixture has chilled through. We just don’t want any of the cheesecake filling to ooze out while we’re shaping the dough balls.
While the cheesecake filling chills, make the cookie dough for this snickerdoodle recipe.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip together softened butter, granulated, and brown sugar. Cream until well combined and fluffy. Beat in an egg and vanilla extract until thick and glossy.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (including that pudding!) and add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture.
Use a hand mixer to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients though I usually just reach for a rubber spatula to fold everything together.
The dough of this snickerdoodle recipe is a caramel colors, firm but soft. Let’s shape dough!
We’ll assemble the dough balls before we chill them. Use a cookie scoop to spoon a tablespoon of dough into the palm of your hand and spread it into 1/4-inch thick dough disk. Add a teaspoon of chilled cheesecake filling. Portion another tablespoon of dough into a similar disk and place over the cheesecake filling, pinching the edges to seal.
Roll each filled cookie between your palms into a ball and place on a small parchment lined baking sheet to chill.
Can this snickerdoodle recipe be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen?
- Snickerdoodle cookie dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for up to a month. Thaw the dough before creating disks and filling the cookies.
- Cheesecake filling will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator though I don’t recommend freezing it.
- Chill the assembled cookie dough balls for at least an hour in the refrigerator, or overnight, before baking. I don’t recommend freezing the assembled cookie dough balls.
Place the wire rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven and roll dough balls in cinnamon sugar just before baking.
Just out of the oven, allow the cookies to rest on the baking pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Store these cookies in an airtight container (or freezer bag) and keep them chilled in the fridge if you have leftovers.
These thick and tender cookies are also equally delicious without the cheesecake center but… well, I think we should have cheesecake at every opportunity.
You might also like Cranberry Cream Cheese Danish Cookies. Add any jam you’d like if you’re outside of cranberry season!
These cookies are always in season. They’re classic – but I especially love to share them at Christmas.Print
A classic chewy snickerdoodle cookie with a cheesecake center!
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- Splash of vanilla extract
- 1 cup (130 grams) powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
For the Cookie Dough:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (3.5 ounce) box instant butterscotch or vanilla pudding
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with electric hand beaters, cream together the cheesecake filling ingredients until smooth and thick. Spoon into teaspoon size balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you make the cookie dough. OR refrigerate the entire bowl of filling until chilled through, about 30 minutes.
- To make the cookie dough, use the same stand mixer and paddle attachment or a large bowl with electric hand beaters. Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat for an additional minute. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- In a small bow whisk together all of the dry ingredients: flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pudding.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low to combine. Use a rubber spatula to finish incorporating the ingredients.
- To assemble the cookies, scoop a heaping tablespoon of cookie dough into your palm. Flatten into a 1/4-inch thick, about 2-inch disk. Add a teaspoon portion of chilled cream cheese mixture. Add another disk of cookie dough and press around the edges to seal. Roll into a ball between your palms.
- Place on a small rimmed baking sheet (you can place them right next to one another just to chill). Once all of the dough balls are formed, refrigerate for at least an hour before baking. Cookies can also be refrigerated overnight.
- When ready to bake, in a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes until just golden around the edges. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool further.
- Enjoy cookies warm and store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring cookies to room temperature or toast in a warm oven before enjoying.
Photos of this snickerdoodle recipe with my friend Jon Melendez.