There is, joyously, a blurry line between desserts and breakfast when it comes to pastries like coffee cake—and these coffee cake cookies lean right into it. They are soft and tender, topped with buttery streusel and a drizzle of simple icing.

coffee cake cookies close view

Reminiscent of a big slice of moist coffee cake but with the grab-and-go convenience of a cookie, they’re delicious and portable. With all these blurred lines, we’re pretty sure these cookies can comfortably fall in either the breakfast or dessert category.

While these do take a little more effort than the usual cookie, they are fairly simple and worth every step. The result is a large, bakery-style cookie that is rich and delicious, sure to become a staple in your recipe box and cookie jar.

coffee cake cookies on cookie sheet

What is Cake Flour?

Cake flour is a finely ground, soft flour that is low in both gluten and protein. This makes it perfect for, well, cakes. This flour gives baked goods an airy, tender crumb that is a bit lighter than all-purpose flour. Because these coffee cake cookies take so much inspiration from the traditional coffee cake, it only feels fitting to use cake flour. This recipe for coffee cake cookies calls for a blend of cake flour and all-purpose flour to achieve that light, moist texture while still maintaining the much-needed structure of a cookie.

What if I Don’t Have Cake Flour?

While it’s ideal to use cake flour, you can make a cake flour substitute with just a few pantry staples. For each cup of cake flour needed, use an equal amount of all-purpose flour, replacing 2 tablespoons of each cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. While this works in a pinch, know that the results won’t be exactly the same as if using cake flour.

coffee cake cookies on cookie sheet

Keys to Making the Perfect Coffee Cake Cookies

After making this recipe several times (because they’re just that delicious), there are a few ways to make sure they come out perfectly every time. From keeping the butter temperature just right to ensuring there’s plenty of room for filling, these tips make the cookies perfect from top to bottom.

1. Get Your Ingredients to the Right Temperature

An unexpected key to making a perfectly textured cookie is the temperature of the ingredients. In this particular recipe, it’s most important that the butter for the cookie base is slightly softened—if your finger can sink directly through it, it’s too soft and should return to the refrigerator for a few minutes. Letting your butter sit out on the counter for 30-45 minutes typically gives us the perfect slightly softened butter.

For the streusel, the butter should be melted. Melting the butter for the streusel doesn’t just make the process a little easier, it also ensures a perfectly textured streusel that gets crisp and crumbly in the oven.

2. Don’t Rush the Cookie Dough

Chilling the cookie dough and allowing it to rest is yet another way to make sure your coffee cake cookies come out in the perfect shape and texture. It might seem like a simple step, but don’t skip the hour of resting time in the fridge. It makes all the difference!

3. Don’t Overbake

Another key to achieving a tender cookie is not overbaking. To identify when they’re done, take a quick peek at their underside. The bottom of the cookie should be a pale golden brown with set edges. Remove them from the pan and transfer to a wire rack for the best results. As the coffee cake cookies sit, the residual heat will continue to cook the insides for a soft, moist texture. We can’t emphasize this recommendation enough.

coffee cake cookies close up view

Coffee Cake Cookies

Katie Calton
Servings: 12 cookies
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 15 mins
Difficulty: Intermediate
These cookies borrow all the must-have elements from a classic coffee cake—spiced, butter streusel and a fluffy vanilla-heavy base—for an oversized, cinnamon-heavy cookie that can be eaten straight or dunked into a hot mug of coffee or cocoa.


Cookie Base

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt


  • cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Pinch Diamond Crystal kosher salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, and brown sugar over medium speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating again until just combined, for 1 minute.  
  • In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer, mix on low to combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined, taking care not to over-mix. Scoop the dough into large 2-ounce cookie balls, using either a #16 cookie scoop or a ¼ measuring cup. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  • About 30 minutes before you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, make the streusel. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter, then toss together using a fork until no dry spots remain (you may need to use your hands). The mixture should result in uneven pieces ranging in size from peas to small marbles.
  • Space each ball of dough 1-2 inches apart on a large parchment-lined cookie sheet, then use cooking spray to grease the backside of a round tablespoon. Use the greased side of the tablespoon to create an indent in the middle of each cookie (you may need to re-apply cooking spray every 2 or so cookies). Fill the indents with streusel, then bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and just set. Do not overbake—the cookies will continue to set as they cool and can easily be overbaked.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. As the cookies are cooling, make the icing by whisking the powdered sugar and heavy cream with a pinch of salt until smooth and glossy. Add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of cream at a time if needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. Using a whisk or a spoon, drizzle the icing all over the cookies and enjoy. 

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