Crema Catalana Cookies

After a much needed Thanksgiving break from the blog, I’m back with a show-stopping, scene stealing holiday cookie! It is that time of year after all. Every year around this time, I like to come up with new and exciting cookies that are out-of-box. These aren’t your everyday run of the mill cookies. I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. Two years ago I made these Babka Cookies that I still dream about. Last year I made Churro Cookies, complete with melted chocolate for dipping. This year, in keeping with the Spanish theme, I bring you these Crema Catalana Cookies! If you’re not familiar with crema catalana—think crème brûlée but made with milk instead of cream and infused with citrus (in this case orange zest) and cinnamon. I personally think it’s better than crème brûlée and so I wanted to spread the word this holiday season by turning that classic Spanish treat into these delicious holiday cookies. You won’t be able to resist them.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

**Note: It’s super important that your butter be really at room temperature or else it won’t cream properly. You can speed this along (especially if you’ve forgotten to take your butter out earlier) by filling a large measuring cup with hot water. Allow to sit for a few minutes, empty out the water and then place the cup over the butter and let sit for 10 minutes to soften!**

Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, almond extract, orange zest and cinnamon and beat until well combined.

**Note: The orange zest and cinnamon is what sets the crema catalana apart from crème brûlée. But you can also use lemon zest instead of orange if you prefer!**

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together. 

Divide in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour, or until firm enough to roll. You can also do this the night before and allow to chill in the fridge overnight.

**Note: If you go the overnight route, allow the cookie dough to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling, as it’ll probably be too firm to roll properly.**

Working with one half of dough at a time, roll out onto a lightly floured work surface, to 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and place on baking sheets (lined with parchment paper), spacing them out 1-inch apart. Bake at 375°F until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the topping, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, orange, and cinnamon until creamy and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, fitted with a plain circle tip.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, pip out a thin layer of the topping onto each cookie making a circle in the center.

**Tip: If you don’t have a piping bag with a circle tip, you can just spread the topping onto the cookies with a small offset spatula or a knife. Just make sure it’s as smooth and even as possible.**

Place the 1/3 cup granulated sugar into a small shallow dish. Dip upside down into the granulated sugar and then carefully caramelize the top with a kitchen blowtorch.

**Tip: I just use a small kitchen blowtorch, like this one, for this. It’s quick and easy. If you don’t have a torch, you can place the cookies (dipped in the sugar) under a preheated broiler for a few seconds to brown then. Just make sure to keep a VERY close eye on them as you don’t want them to burn or have the topping melt.**

Serve the cookies immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container (with sheets of wax or parchment paper in between) for up to 4 days.

**Note: It’s important to note that if you make the cookies ahead of time and refrigerate them, the caramelized sugar will soften and lose that crunch. If you want to make these ahead of time, you can top with the frosting but do not sprinkle with sugar and brown until right before serving.**

I love eating my crema catalana or crème brûlée with fresh raspberries because it helps cut the sweetness. The same thing goes for these cookies as well. They’re delicious eaten with a fresh raspberry or two.

One tip to keep in mind when making these cookies is that they’re better when the sugar cookie base is on the thicker side. The thick cookies will be soft and chewy and when paired with the frosting and the caramelized sugar it is just so good!

If you want to take these over the top and give them more of a fancy edge, you can split a vanilla bean in half, scrap out the seeds and add it to the cookie dough when mixing it. Or you can also add vanilla seeds to the topping as well. It’ll really bring out that vanilla flavor that is often found in crema catalana and crème brûlée!

If you’re looking to spruce things up this holiday season and give your cookies a makeover, then I really do hope you’ll give these a try. They’re really incredible. I feel like I could describe the taste and texture to you, but honestly I wouldn’t do it justice. You have to just trust me and make them for yourself because they’re sure to become your new favorite treat. Let me know what you think below and as always, thank you so much for following along and reading!

Crema Catalana Cookies
5 from 1 vote

Crema Catalana Cookies

Crema Catalana Cookies are like crème brûlée meets cookie, but with an orange and cinnamon kick to them. They're perfect for the holidays!
Servings 30
Prep Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins

Equipment

  • Stand or Handheld Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Baking Sheets
  • Piping Bag and Plain Circle Tip
  • Kitchen Blowtorch
  • 2-inch Round Cookie Cutter

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, almond extract, orange zest and cinnamon and beat until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Divide in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour, or until firm enough to roll.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Working with one half of dough at a time, roll out onto a lightly floured work surface, to 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them out 1-inch apart. Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, to make the topping, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, orange, and cinnamon until creamy and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, fitted with a plain circle tip.
  • Place the 1/3 cup granulated sugar into a small shallow dish. Once the cookies have cooled completely, pip out a thin layer of the topping onto each cookie making a circle in the center. Dip upside down into the granulated sugar and then carefully caramelize the top with a kitchen blowtorch. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container (with sheets of wax or parchment paper in between) for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Spanish
Keyword: Baking, Christmas, Cookies, Desserts, Holiday

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    these are lovely and new to me, love that you’ve also made these with orange zest, thank you!

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