Fruit pizza cookies perfect for summer pool days
By Well Plated
The first recipe I ever cooked in front of a live audience was a sugar cookie fruit pizza. "Cooked" is a generous term—that fruit pizza recipe involved a tube of pre-made cookie dough and a jar of marshmallow fluff. While my fruit pizza cookie methods have changed (today's mini fruit pizza cookies use homemade ingredients), my love for this sweet, simple, summery dessert has not. To my high school Foods teacher: I hope I have done you proud.
If you aren't familiar with "fruit pizza," best clear your plans, soften a block of cream cheese, and load up on fresh fruit, because you need to try this Midwestern staple. A dessert "pizza" comprised of a sugar cookie crust, sweet cream cheese sauce, and fresh fruit toppings, fruit pizza is a simple but stunning dessert.
Separately, the fruit pizza cookie components taste lovely. Together, they taste of that heavenly, eternal bliss so particular to summer: blue skies, long afternoons, and fruit so juicy it runs down your chin.
Though fully cream cheese-frosted and berry-topped is how I love these fruit pizza cookies best, the sugar cookies still taste outstanding with only the cream cheese frosting, or even plain with a cup of coffee or tea. In the summer, I plan to keep piling the fruit high, but in months when fresh berries are less widely available, this recipe will still be my sugar cookie go-to.
Tools I used to make this recipe:
- Offset spatula. Makes frosting cookies and cakes a breeze and is perfect for smoothing batter in baking pans too.
- Beater blade (a must for bakers using a stand mixer).
- This handheld mixer is wonderful too.
- Cookie sheet.
FRUIT PIZZA COOKIES
FOR THE SUGAR COOKIES:
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I recommend aluminum free)
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) light cream cheese (do not use fat free—you will need 1, 8-ounce brick of cream cheese total for the recipe)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 7 ounces light cream cheese (use the remaining cream cheese that you did not put in the cookies above)
- 1-2 teaspoons milk (any kind you like)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat . In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 full minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and egg, stopping to scrape down the bowl again. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated.
- With a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls and roll into a ball. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. With your fingers, lightly press the cookie balls to a 1/4-inch thickness. If the dough is sticky, dampen your fingers slightly.
- Bake the cookies for 9 minutes, until the edges barely begin to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2 minutes, until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low, beat in 1 teaspoon milk and vanilla extract until combined. With the mixer running gradually add the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 1 full minute. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if you desire a thinner frosting consistency.
- Spread the frosting over the cookies, then top with fresh fruit. Enjoy!
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