I came across this linked recipe for Chicago pastry chef Mathew Rice’s Gooey Butter Cookies one day on Pinterest. I’d asked Todd for a stand mixer for Christmas — I even picked out the exact one I wanted (the cheapest KitchenAid one, 4.5-qt, white) and Wish List-ed it on Amazon — but I didn’t really have a particular recipe in mind to make with it until I found this. I’m a sucker for a nice, chewy cookie, and this looked like it would fill some kind of holiday dessert void.
The recipe for a lot of butter, a lot of sugar, a ton of flour (not literally) and half a real vanilla bean (which, let’s face it, you can only buy whole), so it definitely isn’t the cheapest cookie recipe in town — but it is well worth the “extras.” With all you put into the effort, you do get a lot out of it: One batch yields at least six dozen cookies (it’s actually way more, but I lost count) if you use a teaspoon-sized scoop, and everyone you gift these cookies with will be your friend for LIFE. The gooey butter cookie completely fulfills the promise of its name in terms of taste and texture, and it tastes amazing whether it’s consumed warm, refrigerated or at room temperature. Bless your friends with these, and you will definitely bring smiles to their faces; after all, really good cookies with pure natural ingredients are hard to come by these days!
And so, without further adieu, I bring you the recipe for possibly the most fabulous cookies on Earth.
GOOEY BUTTER COOKIES
Recipe by Mathew Rice of Nightwood Restaurant
Source: Tim Mazurek, Lottie + Doof (reprinted with permission)
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound cream cheese
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped [How to Scrape a Vanilla Bean]
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Confectioner’s sugar for rolling and dusting
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract.
Incorporate the flour mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Scoop roughly 1-ounce balls and toss in the confectioner’s sugar. Place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment, a couple of inches apart. Bake at 325° F until they spread and puff slightly, about 12-16 minutes. They will be really soft in the center. If they start to brown, they’ve gone too far. Cool to room temperature.
- Seriously, do not skimp on the ingredients. Tim thinks the vanilla bean is optional (“but important”), but really, I think if you’re going to go through all the trouble, go big or go home.
- You will use lots and lots of confectioner’s sugar. That is why there’s no set amount: It’s just a lot.
- The longer you refrigerate the dough after prep before you roll it into balls, the better the shape will hold up. This is true for most cookie recipes, but it is especially important here.
- You should also keep the dough (rolled or not) in the refrigerator whenever you don’t need to have it in front of you (i.e., while each cookie sheet is baking).
- Cookies can cool on a plate in the refrigerator. Yeah, it’s ghetto compared to cooling racks, but when you’re lacking for counter space, it works, and it’s fast.
If you are a friend of mine within reasonable geographic distance (i.e., you live on Oahu), please don’t steal my thunder and give these away for Christmas. . . . But otherwise, you know, enjoy!