This dough will be slightly softer than most cookie doughs. For best results, handle it as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.
Servings: 24 cookies
- 2 1/4 cups (11 ounces) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch ground black pepper
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and pepper in large bowl, then add the cream cheese.
Pour the warm butter over the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine; some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later. Whisk in the oil until well incorporated. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract, whisking until smooth.
Add the flour mixture; use a flexible spatula to incorporate it, forming a soft, homogenous dough.
Place the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar in a shallow baking dish or pie plate.
Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (about 2 tablespoons each). Use your hands to roll the dough pieces into balls. Working in batches of 2 or 3 at a time, roll the balls in the sugar until evenly coated, placing 12 on each prepared baking sheet. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten the balls into disks that are 2 inches in diameter. There will be leftover sugar (about 4 teaspoons); use it to sprinkle the tops evenly.
Bake (one sheet at a time) for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet from front to back. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes, until the cookie edges are set and beginning to brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
Adapted from an upcoming recipe in Cook's Illustrated (September-October 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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