EMERGENCY SKILLET COOKIE

“Sometimes a moment wasted
IN COOKIE-DELIVERY…
IS LIFE AND DEATH”

Anxiety… do you know about anxiety?

The type that feels like there’s an expanding hot water balloon pressing against my soft parts.  The type that pumps up the pressure on every cubic-inch of air in the space that I gaspingly occupy.  A clinching cast-iron ranch over my lungs that tightens, and then tightens… efforts to breathe muzzled by the air-pressure that squeezes, and just squeezes… neglecting the urgency of a piping hot water balloon in my chest that is screeeeeeching desperately to expand, and EXPAND…

… until, as we all know what happens when you force a ballon, that it just “BAP!”.  Fluids of boiling emotions mixed with bloody lumps of raw angst, splattering so violently against the four white walls of my confinement.  Even the maddeningly slow motion in which they dribble down, by contrast, fuels my raging urge to scream.

All of which, is playing out silently and discreetly behind an expression-less front of a woman, typing calmly in front of her computer.

Anxiety.

I mean I need a cookie like right now.

I’m not gonna bother you on why all the over-dramatic-ness and theatrics… I think you’ve had enough of that.  The point is, we’ve all been there.  Whatever reason and excuse it may be, “there” where we all just desperately need a warm just-out-the-oven cookie, like immediately, not a-drive-away, not ten-cups-and-pans-away, not creaming-your-butter-properly-away and not even a-few-scoops-away, like I mean right fucking now.  Because, as I hope I’ve demonstrated, a moment wasted in cookie-delivery, is life and death.

But here’s comes the inconvenient details, that I’m… not a terrific baker.  On top of which, a non-terrific-baker who’s very specific about the kind of emergency-cookie that she requires.  The type of cookie that has to be crispy and chewy around the edges, but soft, melty and gooey in the center.  The type that embodies so much butter, that the “cookie batter” really, requires a substantial amount of chilling time just to be fit to shape.  The type of cookie that flattens and expands (well you know, butter…) so much on the baking sheets that the word “batches” is attacking my current fragility.

All in all, my ideal emergency-cookie, isn’t made for emergencies!

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Or so I thought, until I spotted an ingenious idea on Martha Stewart about a “skillet cookie”.  Now, the point wasn’t at all about the “cookie”, as that particular cookie looked like nothing that would fix any emergencies for me… doughy, dense, bread-y and sorry.  The point was, the “skillet”.  The skillet is made for my optimal emergency-cookie recipe!  Forget baking sheets.  Forget chilling time!  Forget scoops and spacings and batches!  You “pour” the cookie dough into the pan as it will flatten out and set inside the pan like a giant cookie!  This idea not only came promptly at the height of my anxiety-surge, but also at a time when I was intrigued by the latest Bon Appetit’s idea of adding sour cream into cookie doughs.  Perfect timing…

Oh guys… hot and crispy, golden browned and chewy edges with a good amount towards the center that was warm and barely set… barely set!  Hell yeah of course I didn’t give it enough time to cool down completely, are you kidding me!?  I ate it with a fork!  Which part of “emergency” did you not understand?  Although I’m still not sure what did the sour cream do for the cookies, a “tang” maybe?  But I assure you that I have no intention to take it out either.  It saved me.  Like, I didn’t go ballistic and started painting the flaming skull of death over the bathroom mirror with my toothpastes, because of this.  On top of bandages and such, this is the recipe you should keep in your emergency kit.

Well if you must fuss, this form of delivery doesn’t make it the easiest thing to be packed and shared.

But then seriously.  You want to share my cookies right now?  Like Yeah?

Try me.

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Makes:  one 12-inches (30 cm) in diameter cookie

I mixed my cookie dough in another bowl which already made this a “one bowl” recipe, but in hindsight, perhaps the dough could even be mixed in the skillet, making this a “one pan, no bowl” recipe?

UPDATE 2014/02/10:  A couple commenters mention that the cookie rises quite a bit during baking, resulting in a less dense/gooey cookie.  Based on tracing back my steps and retrials, I think it could be for a few reasons.

  1. Try reducing the oven-temperature down to 330ºF/165ºC.  I tried making the cookie again at this temperature and it worked out better than the last time.
  2. The egg I used was really on the smaller side of a large egg (definitely not extra large), in between a medium and a large.  Since the batter/dough is in such small quantity, little things start to make a difference, so if you are using a real large egg, the extra egg-content could have made the dough risen more.
  3. The cookie really needs to undercook a little.  In the recipe I said 18~20 min, but the second trial took only about 18 min.  If you are concerned about the top not browning in time, you can turn the oven to top-heat for the last 5 min.
  4. Update 2014/02/17:  When all else fails, reduce baking soda to 1/8 tsp.  If you over-baked your cookie resulting in a more cake-y texture (and yes I do this a lot), poke a few holes on the hot cookie and press it down with a spoon.  Yeah, sometimes violence fix things.

Sour cream and chocolate chips skillet-cookie:  adapted from many recipe combined

  • 7 tbsp (100 grams) of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (25 grams) of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) of sour cream
  • 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) of finely chopped bitter-sweet (dark) chocolate
  • More sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven on 330ºF/165ºC (originally written at 350ºF/180ºC, but please see the updates above regarding oven temperature), on top/bottom heat.

Heat up the unsalted butter inside a large bowl in the microwave until just melted, but not hot.  Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and whisk until smoothly combined.  Then whisk in the large egg until thick and velvety, then add the sour cream and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.  Sift the all-purpose flour, sea salt and baking soda together into the bowl and stir until evenly mixed.  Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped bitter-sweet chocolate so they are evenly distributed.

Lightly butter a 12″ (30 cm) oven-proof skillet, then distribute the cookie dough evenly inside the skillet in dollops.  Doesn’t have to smooth it out.  Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt over the top and place the skillet on the middle-rack and back for 18~20 min, then increase the temperature up to 400ºF/200ºC TOP-HEAT and bake until the top is golden browned, approx 3 min.

*  The cookie wouldn’t be completely set unless fully cooled down.  If  you want a sturdier/crispier bottom, place the skillet on the very bottom of the oven first and bake for 18 min, or until the sides are slightly browned.  Then move the skillet to the middle-rack, increase the temperature up to 400ºF/200ºC TOP-HEAT, and bake until the top is golden browned as well, approx 3 min.

Let it cool slightly inside the skillet, if you can, before slicing in wedges.

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25 Comments

  • OMG!!!!
    I absolutely have to try this huuuuge cookie….and…when we talk about cookies is always an emergency! :D

    byebye honey!!

  • If this is your panic cookie sign me up!

    Nothing says Calm down and shut up like a skillet cookie especially since you made it one bowl. I am sure why you sell yourself short on baked good, you are great at it.

  • Skillet cookies freak me out because…well..somebody’s got to eat them. And I can’t imagine being that somebody. But perhaps someday, in the depths of another arctic blast, knowing that my salary doesn’t justify keeping my house at 58 degrees F, and realizing that I could have gone a totally different career direction and actually be making money right now, I could bust one of these out. I guess I can pay to turn my oven on. I do hope things are okay over there!

  • Last week I bought a 4-pack of tiny skillets with pre-made cookie mix at Costco because I thought the pans looked cool. I told myself that I would make some gambas alla plancha or something fancy, but truthfully I just wanted emergency skillet cookies. The cookie mix is garbage, but I thought it worked in a pinch. And now… this recipe. It just shames me. Those mini skillets are getting a workout tonight!

  • I am so pleased to have discovered your site. You make me want to hunker down in the kitchen and make everything you show us. I am a dump and pour cook and so there fore not such a great baker as I’m not as precise or patient as is normally required..
    I made the skillet cookie and it was delicious but more cakey than your version turned out. I didn’t have the dark chocolate so used the semi and milk chocolate. Other than that I followed pretty exactly. Any idea as to what I could have done differently. I’m craving the gooey version… Or maybe I’ll just eat the dough ( mine did resemble batter more than dough if that provides a clue )
    Love to hear your thoughts if you have time.
    Regardless I adore your site!!
    Alex

    • Alex, hm…. I wondered if it was because the egg was over-whipped, hence created too much air bubbles in the dough, which made it expand too much? And every oven is different, so I think maybe your cookie was over-baked and therefore had a more “set” texture? Try to underbake it next time and see how it turned out!

  • What a brilliant idea, a giant cookie! Will definitely be making this during this weekend… um, adapted of course to the ingredients I have here. Have a great weekend.

  • Mine turned out ridiculously fluffy, yet ever so magical! I think the extra fluff came from my “All Purpose Self Rising” flour, but it didn’t affect the cookie taste! Perfect for an emergency!

  • I made this last night to serve my adult kids for dessert after a dinner…they went at it like 8 year olds. Fortunately for me there is hardly anything left today. I do have a question though. I made it following the directions to the letter but my skillet cookie raised up instead of looking all dense and melty like in the photo…what did I do/not do?

    • Kari, my best guess is: 1). my cookie raised up quite a bit during baking as well, and then it “deflated” during a bit of cooling just like any other cookies. If yours didn’t deflate, it might be because it was overbaked a bit that the structure of the cookie is already “set”. I took my cookie out when the center was still quite “wobbly”, and it stayed quite soft even after a bit of cooling.

      2). Perhaps you used an extra-large egg and therefore too much egg-content in the dough made it rise? This is a very small batter as you can see, so little things can make quite a difference.

      I will try baking the cookie again and see if I get any additional input.

  • I made the cookie, with all the recipe updates, and it, too, rose to cake height, albeit a thin cake. Still it was so utterly delicious, I didn’t care. Your blog is original and brilliant. Especially loved your valentine/marriage post. Married my first love, too, and 45 years later, it’s still the best. (Yes, we are old hippies.)

    • Susie, sorry but I’m not sure what went wrong there. Try reducing the baking soda to 1/8 tsp and see how it goes. When all else fails (And I do this sometimes when I over-baked it), poke a few holes on the baked cookie and press it down with a spoon. Yeah. it kinda works, too.

  • Can I just tell you you’re an amazing writer? Also the cookie looks amazing, I love baking in skillets, something so nice and rustic about it. :)

  • original and intelligent. my favorite company. thank you so far. theese and the espresso flan are top of my list.

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