It’s not that I don’t do cute.
There’s a stripy nosed kitten snoozing in my lap right now.
I sometimes chase this kitten round the flat, doing an impression of a particularly excited penguin.
That’s more weird than cute, but there’s an element of cute there, surely…
Okay, it’s just weird.
When it comes to baking aesthetics, I generally like to keep things simple, rustic, natural – I don’t dye my frostings or cakes peculiar colours, or sprinkle them with tiny rainbow stars etc. That said, I have a box full of cake toppers, edible glitters, food colourings, wafer daisies, chocolate chips… And I occasionally go all out and make rainbow layered sponge, or dye my parma violet frosting a deep purple, or cover my cupcakes in pale pink flowers.
It happened to these cookies.
I had found a recipe for cream cheese cookies – the “best ever”, no less – and I was definitely going to give it a whirl. Cream cheese in a cookie is the way forward, trust me. After a small batch of simple, golden circles of niceness, I was suddenly inspired to get creative.
Not just creative – cute. Kitschy cute.
I decided that the next batch of circles would become little owls.
I had fun picking out beaks and colourful, enquiring eyes, and the results were sweet in every sense.
These cookies certainly don’t need to be owls – leaving them plain and unassuming looking makes it all the more surprising when you take a bite and realise they are anything but plain.
Cream Cheese (Owl) Cookies
Adapted from The Girl Creative
- 113g Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 85g Cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups Light brown sugar (plus an extra 1/2 cup for rolling)
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 Egg, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups Plain flour
- 1 packet Smarties/M&Ms (optional)
- 1 packet of raw, unsalted mixed nuts (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese and mix until smooth.
Mix in the sugar and baking powder.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until the mixture is fluffy.
Beat in the flour.
Place the bowl in the fridge and chill the dough for 30 minutes to make it easier to work with.
While the dough is chilling (dude), heat your oven to 190C and prep a cookie sheet by lining it with baking paper.
NOTE: The glass in the photo below was intended to make cut outs, however, the dough was far too sticky to roll out, so I went with balled cookies instead.
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and, a rounded tablespoon at a time, roll it into balls, slightly smaller than ping pong balls, and gently roll these in the extra brown sugar.
Bake for 7-10 minutes if not decorating.
If you’re taking the kitschy owl route, once the cookies have spread at 5 minutes, remove and press the decorations into place – have a play with different beaks (cashews and almonds both work brilliantly, and hazelnuts make good eyes if chocolates aren’t your bag) and use a toothpick to press three little toesies either side of the bottom edge. Then put back in the oven for 2-5 minutes.
Owl kitsch for the win!
Cool the cookies for 1 minute on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield will be about two dozen.
Seriously (or as serious as you can be with these little guys peering up at you), these cookies taste unbelievable – buttery, sweet, soft, and insanely moreish.
They’re quick and easy to make, fun to decorate, should you so choose, and will impress anyone you’re generous enough to share with. You won’t want to be that generous, but just give it a go – cookie karma, you know?
Speaking of which, I recently found another cookie recipe that not only am I looking forward to sharing, but it should win me some major brownie points in the karma department.
No. Cookies first, then we can discuss brownies.