The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies. **These cookies are better the next day. It takes a day for the spice flavor to really shine.
- 2 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm (3/4 stick)
- 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1⁄3 cup sugar, for rolling
- 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
- 2. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper in large bowl; add cream cheese. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine. (Some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later.) Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogenous dough forms.
- 3. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces about 2 tablespoons each. Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops of cookies evenly with 4 teaspoons remaining sugar (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.
- 4. Bake, one tray at a time, until edges are set and beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.