Last year my husband casually mentioned that part of his office holiday party (read: cookies and egg nog for an hour during the work day) was a bake-off. Three categories — cookies, cakes, pies & other. A contest. I love contests. I don’t really bake (although every meal needs a dessert), but sign me up. I’m always game for a good competition. BRING IT.
But… last year didn’t go so well. I entered the dessert that I am most famous for — smores bars. (One day if you’re good I’ll share the recipe. For now, it is in the vault.) We lost. Stupid cheesecake bar something-or-other won. The judges clearly left their taste buds at home that day.
This year is going to be different. We tested a few recipes and decided on the one that we thought had the best winning potential. The contest is today. We decided to enter in the cookie category since the pies & other category was obviously rigged.
Aside from pies (the greatest dessert ever), I don’t really believe in baked goods that do not contain chocolate. So we started gathering recipes for chocolate cookies. We even tried a brownie recipe. Finally we found it. With a little creativity and my husband’s finely honed sweet tooth a-blazing, we had the perfect contestant.
It starts with Paula Deen’s Chocolate Gooey Butter cookie recipe and ends as a sandwich with cream cheese frosting in the center.
Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
- 1 (18 ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
- 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 stick of butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer (a stand mixer would be best, but your hand mixer would work too), cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls (I did it for an hour and it worked fine — aside from making my hands a little gooey). Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioner’s sugar, if desired.
The cookies by themselves are very good, but they’re about to get a whole lot better. (If you make sandwiches, I recommend waiting to dust with the confectioners’ sugar until assembled.)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (I only used a 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I like my cream cheese frosting to be cream cheesy. I don’t like it too sweet.
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. With a hand mixer or in your stand mixer, gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Add vanilla. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. I recommend adding 1/2 cup of sugar and then continuing to slowly add to get the level of sweetness that you prefer.
Assembling the Sandwiches
The cookies are VERY soft, so be gentle.
Put the frosting into a large plastic bag or a pastry bag (if you’re that fancy). Cut off the very tip of the corner of the bag so that you can pipe it on the cookies. Using a spatula would likely break the cookies. Carefully pipe the frosting onto the cookies — be generous! Slather that stuff on!
Then take another cookie and gently twist it on top of the frosting. If you push, you’ll squish it. Twist it on like you would a bottle top.
Then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
They are so delicious! I do think they are most delicious after they’ve been chilled for a little bit.
Back to the story…
So my husband emailed the appropriate person in his office to say we were entering cookies in the contest. They asked what the cookies were called. He said “Holiday Sandwiches.” BO-RING. I couldn’t come up with anything better, though. Anyone have a good name for these yummy cookie sandwiches??
Stay tuned for the results of the contest!