As fleeting as strawberry season is, these strawberry cheesecake cookies will disappear even faster. You will likely start with the best intentions: dessert for a cookout, a thank you for some gifted produce from your neighbor’s garden, or a sweet treat for your kids’ summer playdate. My best advice? Double the recipe. It’s impossible to eat just one.
These cookies have a fun trick. From the outside they look like regular strawberry cookies, but you’re in for a surprise when you break one in half—cheesecake! A rich and tangy cream cheese filling is frozen before being enveloped by the strawberry-studded cookie dough.
How to Make Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
To make strawberry cheesecake cookies, you first prepare the two-ingredient cheesecake filling and divide it into twelve mounds. The filling chills in the freezer while you make the one-bowl, no-mixer, fresh strawberry cookie dough. The cookie dough rests briefly in the refrigerator before surrounding the frozen cream cheese dollops to form giant cookies. Bake, cool, and then watch them disappear.
Tips for Stellar Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
I tried to streamline steps where I could—mixing the dough in one bowl without a mixer, using the same pan from the freezer to the oven, and baking both trays at once—but I still have a few tips to share for a stress-free baking project.
- Use good, flavorful strawberries. They’ll deliver more sweet strawberry flavor than so-so berries.
- Freezing the cream cheese filling before assembling the cookies is an essential step that makes it possible to surround the filling with dough. The filling is still malleable, so you will be able to reshape them to fit.
- Chilling the cookie dough is optional, but it prevents the dough from sticking to your hands while filling the cookies. It may not be a time saver, however, the difference it makes when assembling the cookies is worth it. I make the dough right after placing the filling in the freezer and chill the dough during the filling’s remaining freezing time.
- I generally prefer baking with a silicone baking mat whenever possible but found that the mat prevented the bottom of the cookies from browning and setting properly. Parchment paper worked much better.
- I don’t recommend replacing fresh strawberries with frozen ones. Frozen strawberries release too much liquid for the cookies to bake properly.
At first, it may seem like a hassle to freeze the filling and chill the cookie dough, but these steps actually make this recipe incredibly make-ahead friendly.
The filling can be prepared and kept, covered with plastic wrap, in the freezer up to 2 days in advance. The dough can be made ahead of time, covered, and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can even store the unbaked, filled cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the cookies overnight in the refrigerator, or on parchment-lined baking sheets at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking as directed.
Strawberry Season Recipes
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Bars
- Strawberry Pretzel Pie
- Strawberry Jam for Canning
- Classic Strawberry Shortcake
- Strawberry and Cream Semifreddo
Make the filling:
In a small bowl, use a spatula to combine the cream cheese with the powdered sugar until smooth. Line a baking sheet that fits in your freezer with parchment paper. Drop tablespoonfuls of the filling onto the prepared tray. You should have 12. Freeze for at least 1 hour, or until frozen solid.
Make the cookie dough:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fully combined, about 1 minute.
Add the egg and whisk to combine.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Switch to a spatula and stir until the dry ingredients are almost fully incorporated. It’s okay if there are some streaks of dry flour.
Stir in the strawberries:
Add the chopped strawberries. Use a spatula to fold in very gently, distributing them without squishing them or dying the dough pink. Mix just until combined, and no streaks of flour remain.
Chill the dough:
Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill until the filling has frozen and you’re ready to assemble, about 30 minutes. This chill time is optional, but it makes assembling the cookies much easier since the dough won’t stick to your hands as much.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Arrange racks in the bottom and top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop the first cookie layer:
Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the dough has chilled for longer than a couple of hours, let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes to soften slightly. Use a cookie scoop (size 40 portioner, or about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to drop 12 cookies onto the lined baking sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to make a well, just as if you were making thumbprint cookies.
Add the cheesecake filling:
Remove the cheesecake filling from the freezer. Place 1 frozen ball of filling into the indentation of each cookie. You can use your hands to reshape the filling slightly, if needed, for it to fit nicely.
Scoop the remaining cookie dough on top of the cheesecake filling. Spread the cookie dough around the filling, ensuring it is completely covered and sealed. The cookie dough mounds will be big and tall.
Place 6 cookies on each of the lined baking sheets, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Bake both trays at once for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans from top to bottom and back to front. Continue baking for 7 to 9 minutes longer until the edges are set and just beginning to brown.
Let the cookies cool and set them on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. They are too soft to move straight out of the oven.
The cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Baked cookies will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
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