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Hooky Cookies: Blueberry Cream Cheese Cookies

There was once a cookie shop in Wichita Falls called Grandma B’s. They served huge, hot, fresh cookies to the masses. I can’t even remember when that spot closed but I will always remember their cookies. I loved the chocolate chip. But the 2nd most talked about cookie that they made, at least amongst my peers, was a blueberry cream cheese cookie.

I have always wanted to make a similar cookie. Why is this an important cookie for me? Well, you can read about the hot blueberry cream cheese cookies and a wonderful teacher named Mrs. Merrill in the note below the recipe if you’d like to know.

Well, I’ve been trying my hand at it. I have been around the block several times with this cookie. I tried beating cream cheese with the butter and sugar in varying amounts with varying success. I tried a version with butter and shortening as with my favorite Snickerdoodles. I tried lots of things. I came to the conclusion that the cream cheese was disappearing into the mix for the most part. So I backed the cream cheese out of the dough until the very end and then added it, cut into almost- frozen chunks. The result…pockets of cream cheese in the final cookie. It worked just like I wanted it to. My all-butter cookie was far and away preferred by my tasters. And, I rolled the cookie dough in sugar for good measure. I have to say it is a very pleasing cookie, and while by no means identical, it stands up nicely to my long ago memory of a great cookie.

Recipe for Blueberry Cream Cheese Cookies: (yield 18 to 20 cookies)

Instructions:

4 ounces cream cheese, cold
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces dried blueberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for rolling)

Ingredients:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the cold cream cheese into strips or small pieces and place it on a plate in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, but not more than 20 or it will begin to freeze through.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat for 30 seconds. Turn off the mixer and scrape the bowl. Then, continue to beat for an additional 30 seconds. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour mixture. When just combined, add the blueberries and mix until they are evenly distributed in the dough. This will be a stiff dough.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides. Take the cream cheese out of the freezer and cut it into 1/3” cubes. Spread out the dough in the bowl and sprinkle the cubes around in the dough. Use a large plastic scraper/spatula to turn the dough and gently mix in the cubes. The goal is to not mix them into the dough, but to have them remain as distinct as the blueberries are. They will mash and stretch a bit.

4. Once the cream cheese has been added to the dough, use a spoon or a scooper to create 1½” balls of dough. Place the remaining sugar in a small dish and roll each dough ball into the sugar. Place the balls on a cookie sheet which has been lined with a silicone liner or Silpat. Press the cookies slightly to flatten them a bit.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until just golden around the bottom edge. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Notes about these cookies:

Make sure your cookie sheet and silicone liner cool completely between batches.

Cubing cream cheese is messy. This is not a precision game. Just do the best you can.

The cream cheese squashes and migrates as you try to fold it into the dough. Try to make sure pockets of cream cheese remain visible, even though the cubes get squashed. Just don’t overwork the dough and you will be fine.

A note about the other cookies & Linda Merrill:

So Grandma B’s cookies were great. They really were…especially when they were hot out of the oven. But the reason I love thinking about those cookies is because they are permanently linked with my memories of the wonderful and legendary Old High (Wichita Falls High School) English teacher, Linda Merrill. I was in her class, way up on the 3rd floor (it was the 3rd floor, wasn’t it?). She was one of those outstanding teachers who make learning fun. She was an absolute card. And she hatched in me a lifetime devotion to John Irving novels starting with her apt suggestion that I read A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Well, a few times, she looked the other way while I sneaked out of the classroom to go buy big bags of fresh Grandma B’s cookies. And sneak out I did, down the staircase and out by the tennis courts to my car. I was back in a flash with a bag of hot cookies, including a few of the aforementioned blueberry and cream cheese cookies. And we would all sit in class and have cookies with our literature. Let me be clear, I’m not saying she gave me permission exactly. I’m just saying that she didn’t happen to see me go or come back, and didn’t ask any questions about how I came to have a big bag full of hot, fresh cookies. I wouldn’t even mention it for fear she wouldn’t want me talking out of school, so to speak.

But, Wichita Falls lost Mrs. Merrill a few years back. She died out riding her Harley trike motorcycle of all things…after playing tennis. That is Mrs. Merrill for you. She was fantastic. I’d be surprised to find a person who was ever her student who didn’t have a similar story about ways that Mrs. Merrill made them feel special, smart, lucky, or interesting…even if it involved a wee bit of naughty. What I didn’t know back then though, was that I would forever get to have a little bit of her spirit in my family because a few years ago my Aunt Joyce married Mrs. Merrill’s cousin, Coach Pete Gill. He has that same happy magnetism as she did.

So these are my Mrs. Merrill’s Hooky Cookies. God bless her. And, GO COYOTES!!

(Linda Merrill wasn’t the only fantastic teacher I had at Old High. Roma Prassel has had a life-long influence on me. If I could think of a cookie to dedicate to her, I could tell you about how she managed to make me feel like the most important person in the world during my first week at my mammoth new school. And, I’d have to invent a cookie for Mr. Johns, too. After all, his geometry lessons got me to fall for the other pi. Love them all! I was blessed in the teacher department.)

 

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29 comments to Hooky Cookies: Blueberry Cream Cheese Cookies

  • Kelly

    Mary. I hope you think they are worthy. We have enjoyed them thoroughly and each time I have them I think of home.

  • Mary Plummer Davenport

    OMG! I was just thinking (once again) about these darned cookies! We loved Grandma B’s so much. I would take my own serving plates in and they would put the cookies right on them! Thanks so much for working on a recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  • Kelly

    No luck so far. In the meantime, here is my recipe for CCC: http://www.themeaningofpie.com/2010/11/chocolate-chip-cookies/
    Hopefully that will hold you over until we figure that mystery out. Those were awesome.

  • Amy

    any chance to get the chocolate chip recipe? I still crave those to this day and have never found a recipe even close to them. I would drive from Iowa Park just to get them <3

    thanks

  • Joshlene

    I Never Had Grandma B Cookies. I Live In
    Hawaii And We Don’t Have It Here.! I Just Wanted
    To Say That I Love Your Recipe And Its Was A
    Hit At My Job.!! Thanks So Much
    ALOHA.!! ^_^*

  • Kelly

    I think parchment would be just fine. I hope you like them.

  • Deanna

    I swear I started smelling blueberries as I was reading this. Question though: I don’t have a silicone liner, will parchment suffice?

  • Kelly

    Gina, I’m so very happy you like the cookies. Especially you. Thanks for your kind words. She was a gem, and an inspiration to so many!

  • Gina Whitaker

    Hi Kelly, I just made the Hooky Cookies today. They are absolutely the best! My husband loves them. We both have batches to take to work with us tomorrow! I am almost afraid to share them! Thanks for the recipe and the story of Mom!

  • Stacy Horany Johnson

    Linda and I met when I was about 10 years old. I will never forget her. She had gone into administration by the time I finally made it to Old High but we did have a memorable trip to Honduras together that I will always think fondly on. We were looking at the imposing guards’ AK-47s in the rain forest and I told her “We don’t need no stinking badges!” which made her laugh. There are many people now gone but certainly not forgotten. Thanks for the cookie recipe.

  • Elizabeth Alexander Cumbie

    This made me so happy, Kelly, on so many levels. I can still close my eyes and hear Mrs. Merrill’s voice. She left such an imprint on my life. I think of her often in my own classroom. The cookies from Grandma B’s were the best! Plan to make these very soon! Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  • M

    I LOVED Grandma B’s!! I totally had forgotten about it, but I put cinammon in my chocolate chip cookies to this day because of that shop. Thanks for the memory! Do you remember the Cake Box in Parker Square? They had the best thumbprint cookies. Now I will have to find a recipe for those….

  • Kelly

    Courtney, so glad you like them. You are such a reliable tester that I’m always relieved to hear that a recipe worked for you, too.

  • Courtney

    I made these for my family and they were inhaled. My sister described them as brilliant. I loved the results of mixing in the cream cheese chunks at the end.

  • they’re in the oven now. on the chilled cream cheese, i used my butter slicer (yes, these gadgets exist) and it cubed up nicely, quickly in 3 turns. of the cheese block. sur la table has them.

  • Jeanie

    Kelly, I made a second, double batch yesterday. I took them to work and they were devoured. Thanks again for an awesome recipe!

  • Kelly

    Oh, Gina. I’m so glad you are OK with the story. She was an inspiration, and still is. Thank you for your comment. Our hearts all broke a little when she left us. Your sense of loss must be immense. I think I speak for everyone who ever met Mrs. Merrill when I say, thank you for sharing her with us. I hope you like the cookies.

  • Gina Merrill Whitaker

    Boy! Did this hit at the right time! Ms. Merrill that you speak of is my mother. This is a story that I had not heard, and believe me I have heard many! I am a teacher as well all because of her inspiration. I miss her dearly! She was not only my mom; she was my friend, mentor and confidant. I lost a big chunk of my life when she left this earth. The summer months are very hard even after five years. This story made me laugh and cry! It is nice to hear that her teaching and inspiration continues in the lives of her students. That was her goal! I can’t wait to try the cookies!

  • these sound great!

  • Joey

    Dear Mrs. Merrill and Hooky Cookies! She was the best teacher I have EVER had, even compared to college and grad school professors. Do you remember her ’5 year letter’ that she had us write to ourselves? I still have it. I was in nursing school living with you when I received it, which were 2 of the ‘predictions’ I had made in that very letter. I will forward this on to her Aunt and her Cousins, to pass on to her husband and children. I’ll bet she is eating blueberry cookies, reading a good book, and smiling down from Heaven right now!

  • Kelly

    I love it! Thank you, Jeanie. And, I’m so glad you found a good deal on blueberries. I was purposefully keeping the batch small because the 1st bag I found was $7 for 4 ounces!! Granted, they were organic. But, I suspect you could double the recipe without much trouble. Thanks for letting me know that the recipe worked for you. That is always nice to hear.

  • Jeanie

    I made the cookies yesterday. They were delicious! I just wish the recipe made a bigger batch. I bought the dried blueberries at Sam’s in Wichita Falls. I got a 14 oz package for about 9 dollars. This recipe is a keeper~Thanks Kelly~

  • Wow.. these look amazing! I love blueberries and cream cheese… I can’t wait to try the recipe

  • Kelly you always have the best stories and of course the best food! I have never had a blueberry cookie but this one sounds fantastic!

  • Kelly

    Hi Lola! Tell Sandy I said HI!

  • Lola

    Sandy is here visiting with me this morning as Iam reading this. She too recalled the back stairs at WFHS, as well as Grandma B’s. Great memories.
    LOLA

  • Jeanie

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I love Grandma B’s cookies too. I will definitely bake these cookies.

  • Kelly

    Lindsey, that is so funny. Well, you will have to be my tester and let me know if we are even in the ballpark. I’m going on a pretty old memory here. Plus, I didn’t exactly try to match it. I just wanted something AS good. So, I hope I don’t let down your memory. Oh, also, you might want to call around to grocery stores before setting out. Dried blueberries can be sort of tricky to find (and expensive at certain places). I found a ton of them at a store in Dallas called Tom Thumb. But I wouldn’t want you driving to every store in WF to find them. I hope you like them. BTW…I’ve been dying to make it back to the Falls to meet your sweet baby and to see how big North is now.

  • Lindsey

    I am beyond excited to try this recipe!! I went to Grandma B’s constantly when I was a child. My mom, sister, and I still talk about these cookies. My mom ran into Mike (the owner of Grandma B’s) a while back, and tried to bribe him for the recipe to no avail. haha!! I can’t wait to share this recipe with them. Thank you!

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