Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: gooey butter cake is one of America’s most underrated desserts. Its name actually makes total sense: the bottom layer is cakey, and the top layer is gooey. That texture combo makes every bite interesting… and the ingredient list makes every bite yummy, too. Gooey Butter Cake definitely lives up to its name, and you just have to try it to understand.

file_0032And then once you try it… what’s next? Experimenting with flavors and mix-ins, obviously. I found this Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake recipe by a stroke of luck. I was planning to bake for a birthday and someone suggested I use cookie butter. I do that pretty often and didn’t want to make a repeat, so I turned to Pinterest for some new ideas. Up popped this recipe that marries my love of cookie butter with my love of gooey butter cake.

There are a few types of Gooey Butter Cake recipes out there. This one uses a pretty standard cake base, and I liked it more than some yeasted versions I’ve tried in the past. You mix cookie butter straight into the “gooey” layer, giving it that signature almost-caramelized, sort-of-gingery taste. Every bite rewards you with a decadent gooey start and a soft, cakey finish.

Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake

Original recipe: Butter Baking. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~30 bars

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~1 hour

Cook Time: 35-40 min

Ingredients

Cake layer:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Gooey layer:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (beat them before you even use them!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread, or other brand of cookie butter (ex. Trader Joe’s sells one)
  • 16 oz powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F
  2. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper
  3. Start with your cake layer: mix your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
  4. Add your egg, butter, milk and vanilla, then stir until it’s just combined
  5. Pour your cake layer into the prepared pan, and smooth it out so it’s nice and even
  6. Then comes the gooey layer. Start by beating your cream cheese until it’s smooth
  7. Add eggs, Biscoff and vanilla, then beat it again until it is completely smooth and looks creamy
  8. Add your powdered sugar in small batches, a bit at a time. Beat each batch at a low speed until it’s combined
  9. Pour your gooey layer over the cake layer, and spread out evenly
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes (mine took the full 40 minutes). Your edges will look golden. The center may look a bit underdone, but it will set as the pan cools. The top should look a bit shiny–mine ended up flaking quite a bit, but it didn’t affect taste at all!
  11. Once the pan is cool, cut it up into bars

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers

This easy recipe puts a pumpkin spice twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. The recipe calls for a rather standard list of ingredients–with one very important, very notable exception. What’s that, you say? Why, Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter of course.

I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s pumpkin-flavored cookie butter because it combines so many wonderful things: nutmeg, pumpkin and little bits of cookie, to name a few. In this recipe, the cookie butter gets mixed right into your cookie dough. It adds a really satisfying complexity with nuanced flavors.This is a pretty cakey chocolate chip cookie, so the insides are soft and delightful. Like most things “pumpkin spice,” you’ll taste the cookie butter’s spice mix more than its pumpkin.

img_2396I’ve baked up many cookie butter recipes in the last couple years, from Cookie Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies to Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies. I’ll take cookie butter any way you want to serve it… but I definitely prefer using it in base doughs rather than using it as a filling. It’s an easy way to amp up the flavor in simple recipes!

For these Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers, I started with a recipe for Biscoff cookies, and simply swapped in the seasonal cookie butter flavor. I bet these would be delicious with standard cookie butter, too! You could try that same trick with other cookie butter recipes, like these Cookie Butter Bars with Nutella Swirls.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers

Original recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction, with a cookie butter flavor swap. I’ve written things a bit and added commentary, too. 

Yield: 20 cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 45 minutes for the recipe, total of 4 hours including chill time 

Cook Time: 9 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (you can swap in dark if you need to)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Step by Step Directions

Make your dough 

  1. Use your mixer to beat the butter for a minute on medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy
  2. Add your granulated sugar and brown sugar, then beat the mixture on medium-high until it’s fluffy and light in color
  3. Beat in the egg, extra egg yolk and vanilla on high speed
  4. Beat in the cookie butter until your entire mixture is completely combined
  5. Use a separate bowl to whisk the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt until combined
  6. Turn your mixer to low speed, then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  7. Switch the mixer to high speed to beat in your chocolate chips
  8. Cover your dough tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days. Chilling gives the dough great flavor, so don’t skip this step. You can also freeze dough balls if you want to bake the cookies later on

Bake your cookies 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Let your dough sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes so it’s easier to scoop into balls
  3. Start scooping doughs of ball onto your lined baking sheets
  4. Bake the cookies 9-10 minutes (mine took 9 minutes on the dot!). They’ll look pretty undone in the centers and really soft-but they’ll finish firming up as they cool, so don’t worry about it!
  5. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on their baking sheets, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely

These will keep for up to a week if you store them in a covered container, or in your fridge.

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Cocoa Swirls

Look: I know this name is a mouthful. I tried to edit it down, but nothing felt right. I considered “Pumpkin Cookie Butter Swirls” and “Pumpkin Cocoa Swirls,” among many others. Thing is, those shorter names shortchange the delightful flavor combo you get when you bite into one of these cookies. The ginger notes of cookie butter, the distinct taste of pumpkin pie spice, the richness of dark cocoa. These cookies deserve every last descriptive word in their title.

I discovered Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter at Trader Joe’s last year, and knew I had to bake with it. I took a favorite cookie butter recipe, and swapped the Pumpkin Pie Spice flavor in for standard cookie butterPumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies were born! Soon I regretted buying only one jar of the limited edition flavor. When I went back to Trader Joe’s to buy more, the jars were sold out! I learned my lesson: this year, I snagged multiple jars the minute I saw them on shelf.

img_2193First experiment of 2016: these delicious, swirly, multi-flavored cookies. I used the same “swap-in” method as last year, and looked for interesting cookie butter recipes. I love that these Chocolate Biscoff Swirl Cookies from Inside Bru Cru Life combine two types of dough. It’s actually a really easy recipe, because you simply add cocoa to a portion of the dough to get your chocolate swirls. The cookie butter adds such a lovely flavor to the base dough, with an extra hint of spice beyond the usual cookie butter. Since you use the base dough for the chocolate swirls, that part has cookie butter in it too. So the chocolate swirls are actually more like a cocoa/pumpkin/cookie butter situation.

Now do you see why these cookies deserve all the words in their name?!

I still have a bunch of cookie butter left, so you’ll definitely see more recipes in the coming weeks. I highly encourage you to experiment with the stuff on your own, too. Let me know if you discover any winning recipes or flavor combos!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Cocoa Swirls

Original recipe: Inside Bru Cru Life. I swapped the cookie butter flavor but otherwise it’s the same recipe. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: 16-20 cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 1 hour 

Cook Time: ~8 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter. I’ve only seen this at Trader Joe’s but if you find another brand, go for it!
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour, divided (that means you will use 1 cup at one point in the recipe, then 1/4 cup later on) 
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (definitely get dark cocoa because it amps up the flavor!)
  • 1 tsp milk (I always use whole milk in baking) 
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Step by Step Directions

Prep your dough 

  1. Use your mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla
  2. Add your egg and cookie butter, then beat the whole mixture together
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, baking soda, 1 cup of the flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl
  4. With your mixer on low, add your dry ingredients to the creamed mixture
  5. Scoop out 1 cup of cookie dough and set it aside. This is now your “cocoa dough”
  6. Add your extra 1/4 cup flour to the dough remaining in your mixer bowl. This is now your “base dough”
  7. Roll the base dough into even-sized balls. The original recipe says to make 20 balls. I only got 16, but it all depends on the size you make! Place the balls on a cookie sheet or plate and stick it in the fridge to chill
  8. Go back to your cocoa dough. Add in the cocoa and milk, and stir it together
  9. Mix your chocolate chips into the cocoa dough
  10. Now, roll the cocoa dough into balls and set them in the fridge, too. You’ll want to count out the same number of dough balls for both the base and cocoa doughs since you’ll end up smushing them together
  11. Let the dough balls chill for at least 30 minutes so the dough doesn’t spread

Bake your cookies 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Take one ball of base dough and one ball of cocoa dough, then smush them together (see the pics for reference!). Roll the dough back into a ball and place it on your prepared cookie sheet
  3. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes. They should look set around the edges, but slightly undone in the middle
  4. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely
  5. Store these in an airtight container. Mine only made it 24 hours but they tasted great the next day!

Cookie Butter Bars with Nutella Swirls

I stayed in alone last night – so naturally, I decided to bake cookies. I’d been wanting to bake with cookie butter again for a while, and decided last night was the perfect night to do so. Now, originally I had planned to make cheesecake-stuffed cookie bars. But I just wasn’t in the mood for cheesecake. Instead, I decided to use the base dough from the cheesecake recipe I’d saved as a starting point, and play around with it a bit.

This is an easy trick to customize your baked goods: start with a base you trust, and then play with it. I have a few baking blogs I turn to for the base doughs – e.g. I love Picky Palate’s chocolate chip cookie dough and I adore this brownie base from The Food Charlatan. These bases are essentially your canvas, and then you can try out different additions, substitutions or “hacks.”

IMG_0387

That darker bit in the middle is the cookie butter layer – mmm!

Last night’s experiment led me to make these Cookie Butter Bars with Nutella Swirls. I used a cookie butter blondie dough as the base and decided to split it into two layers, with a cookie butter filling between them. This turned out to be a great choice: the cookie butter filling baked into a smooth, moist layer that adds another kick of gingery, caramelized flavor. After putting the second round of dough on top of the cookie butter filling, I decided to add a Nutella swirl into the very top of the bars. And then I decided to sprinkle on some sea salt because really, why not?

IMG_0369

Next time I’d slather a layer of Nutella over the cookie butter.

These bars came out great! I loved the extra cookie butter layer in the middle and the Nutella on top adds a nice bit of chocolate right when you bite into the bar. Next time I think I’d add a layer of Nutella in the middle, on top of the cookie butter. The bars tasted great out of the oven, when the cookie butter layer was still hot and melty. I actually like them even more on Day 2, because the cookie butter layer has solidified a bit and has a stronger flavor. I tend to like my blondies more on Day 2 – often, flavors meld together over time and are more pronounced after they’ve been sitting around a bit.

I took these bars to brunch today as a sweet surprise for some friends. They were more than happy to be my taste testers!

Cookie Butter Bars with Nutella Swirls

Original recipe: The base dough for this recipe came from Confessions of a Baking Queen.

Yield: 20 bars 

Suggested equipment: Mixer makes it easier 

Total Time: ~50 minutes 

Cook Time: ~25-27 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s version, but use any brand you’d like)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping cup milk chocolate chips (you can swap in a different kind, of course)
  • 10 tsp cookie butter for the filling (this is a rough estimate; you’ll want to eyeball it)
  • 10 tsp Nutella (this is a rough estimate; you’ll want to eyeball it)
  • Fine sea salt, to sprinkle (totally optional!)

Step by Step Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Line an 9×9 pan with foil and grease the pan thoroughly. I only have an 8×8 so I used that, and just left out some of the dough so it wouldn’t be overfilled.
  3. Use your mixer to beat the butter for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the sugar and brown sugar, then beat for about 4 minutes until it looks fully combined.
  5. Add your cookie butter, and beat until it’s uniformly mixed.
  6. Add an egg, mix. Add the second egg, mix again.
  7. Add in the vanilla and mix it all together again.
  8. Add the baking soda, salt and flour. Mix on low, until all of the flour streaks are gone. You’ll need to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure you get it all mixed in.
  9. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon.
  10. Press half the dough into the prepared pan.
  11. Put dollops of cookie butter on top of the cookie dough. Mine were about 2 tsp each. Then, use a knife to spread the dollops around the dough so you effectively have a cookie butter layer (see pictures below for help!)
  12. Layer on the second half of your cookie dough.
  13. Now, put dollops of Nutella on the top cookie layer. You’ll then use a knife to sort of swirl the Nutella into the cookie dough so it bakes into the top.
  14. Sprinkle some sea salt on top, if you’d like.
  15. Bake your bars for about 25-27 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine took 27; start checking around 23 minutes to see what’s going on.
  16. Let the bars cool in their pan for 15 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

These will stay good for a few days if you put them in an airtight container. I’m guessing they’ll freeze well, too, so I threw some in the freezer!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies

The minute I saw Trader Joe’s was selling Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter, I knew I had to bake with it. Cookie Butter has been on a rapid ascent to U.S. popularity over these last couple years, particularly within the crowd that shops at Trader Joe’s. It’s actually not a Trader Joe’s invention: abroad it’s known as “speculoos” and it’s been popular for quite some time. It’s also been sold as Biscoff spread here in the States. But Trader Joe’s definitely gets credit for making cookie butter accessible to more Americans- and for that, I salute them.

Once I had a jar of Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter in my 20151031_191932hands, I had an important decision to make. Should I put it into a cookie dough, adding that flavor into the cookie base itself? Or should I stuff it into chocolate chip cookies, like I did with regular cookie butter earlier this year? The answer was clear: I wanted to see what flavor the cookie butter would impart to dough itself. So I turned to my trusted Cookie Butter Blondie recipe from Confessions of a Baking Queen. I’ve made this recipe with regular cookie butter, to great results. I had my winner.

IMG_2754.jpgI followed Elizabeth’s original recipe, only swapping in the new variety of cookie butter. It turns out that putting Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter in her recipe is a really, really delicious choice. The flavored spread added a nice touch of pumpkin, along with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Yes, that’s right- unlike many “pumpkin spice” products, this spread does have pumpkin, along with all the spices usually included in “pumpkin spice.” So you get hints of allspice and cloves, pumpkin, plus the gingery taste of the typical cookie butter ingredients. Add that to a blondie base with chocolate chips- and I think you’ll understand why my friends were excited to see these appear at a Halloween party. Another important note about these blondies: they were the first thing I baked in my new apartment’s oven. Monumental, right?!

I plan to make these again very soon, probably to share with coworkers. Trader Joe’s actually sold out of the spread at the store closest to me, and the worker told me they probably won’t restock. So, dear readers, I encourage you to go out right now and seize the day- and seize some Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter, too.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies

Source: Confessions of a Baking Queen, with just a flavor swap 

Yield: One 9×9 pan of blondies (roughly 20 blondies, depending on how you cut) 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~45 minutes 

Cook Time: ~25 minutes 

I broke the original recipe into a few more detailed steps and wrote my own commentary below. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter (if you can’t find any, I implore you to still make this with regular cookie butter!)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips/ chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt for garnish

Directions

Get prepped to bake 

  1. Melt your butter
  2. Line a 9×9 inch pan with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 350F

Make your dough 

  1. Once the butter is cooled, combine it in the mixer with sugar, brown sugar and vanilla
  2. Then, add in the egg and mix until incorporated
  3. Mix in the cookie butter, and set the bowl aside
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  5. Add the dry ingredients (flour etc.) into the wet ingredients (butter etc.) and mix
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips (I always do this part by hand so I don’t over-mix the dough) 
  7. Spread the dough into your prepared pan, trying to make it even on top
  8. Sprinkle sea salt lightly over the top of your dough. Just a sprinkle does the trick, you don’t want the entire top covered in salt!

Bake your blondies 

  1. Bake for ~22-27 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine took a little longer so I ended up leaving it in around 25 minutes
  2. Let cool for 30 minutes in the actual pan, then use the foil to remove the blondies from your pan

Cookie Butter-Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Sea Salt Sprinkle

DSCN2283Browned butter meets cookie butter in this flavorful recipe. Yes, it’s a mouthful: a mouthful of simple but delightful flavors. Browned butter adds a nutty element, while cream cheese in the dough adds a softness to the finished cookies. And when you bite into the core of the cookie, you’re rewarded with a tasty bit of cookie butter. When the cookies are hot, the cookie butter center melts out, giving you a gooey bite. Once the cookies cool, the cookie butter melds into the other flavors and adds an additional layer of depth. I made these cookies last weekend for a friend’s house party, and the plate emptied out even quicker than I expected! A quick word on cookie butter, in case you’re unfamiliar with it. Cookie butter is a paste made from crushed spiced cookies and oil. It’s been popular in Europe for quite some time, known there as “speculoos.” We have Trader Joe’s to thank for its popularity in the U.S., as they were the first brand to really market the product over here. You can find a jar at Trader Joe’s or under the Biscoff label at other grocery stores. This recipe is simple, but it does take some planning ahead to get it right. First comes browning the butter, then making the dough, then chilling the dough, then freezing the cookie butter centers – and then you bake it. I preferred these cookies cooled when the cookie butter had melded in a bit more vs. melty centers, so in the future I am going to allow time for them to fully cool, too. That’s just a personal preference though – they’re also great right out of the oven!

Cookie Butter-Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Sea Salt Sprinkle

Source: Shared Appetite Yield: My batch yielded 30 cookies. But I ate some of the dough… so you might get a few more cookies if you show better self-control! Suggested equipment: whisk, mixer Total Time: 3 hours assuming you’re only chilling the dough 2 hours, but you could make the dough ahead of time and chill up to 3 days if you wanted Cook Time: 11-15 minutes (mine took a little longer than the Shared Appetite suggestion) Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips (the recipe calls for dark but I was out, so used semi sweet) 
  • 1 jar cookie butter – you won’t use the whole jar 
  •  sea salt (you will just sprinkle this, so use as much or little as you want)

Step by Step Directions Note that any Italics below are my own comments on the Shared Appetite post. I broke the directions into a few more steps than the original blogger, too. Remember to plan ahead since there are some wait times built in here.  Brown the butter 

  1. Place butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Butter will begin to foam as it melts. The color will then progress from yellow to tan-ish to a light brown. You know the butter is done when you smell a nutty aroma. Remove pan from heat and transfer butter to a bowl to cool (there will be milk solids on the bottom of the pan. Try to leave as much of this sediment in the pan when pouring butter into bowl.)

Once the butter has cooled, make the dough

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and Kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter with cream cheese, brown sugar, and granualted sugar until creamy and well-combined. Add vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. On low, gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined, then stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate cookie dough at least 2 hours and up to a couple days. This will allow the flavors to meld and will yield a better cookie.

Prep the cookie butter centers: 

  1. About 30 minutes before ready to bake cookies, drop approximately 30 little dollops of cookie butter (about 1 teaspoon-sized) onto a wax paper lined plate. Place in freezer and allow to firm up.

Now… bake your cookies! 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove cookie butter from freezer and cookie dough from refrigerator. Take a spoonful of cookie dough, flatten it pretty thin between the palms of your hands, place a dollop of cookie butter in the center, and form the dough around and completely encapsulate the cookie butter. Roll dough into a ball and place on baking tray. Repeat.
  2. Bake cookies for approximately 11-13 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown and the center is still a bit pale. It’s better to underbake then to overbake! Remove cookies to a cooling rack and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Devour immediately. Heed the warning and do not overbake-  they will firm up a bit!