I had my three-deep stack of beautiful cast iron skillets pulled out the other night, and while I was grabbing my monster-large 18″ one to make a braised sausages and balsamic onions dish (stay tuned for this one), I pulled my 11″ one aside to try this skillet cookie recipe that I found on Heidi Swanson’s site, 101 Cookbooks a few weeks back. I was looking for an easy dinner – dessert combo as we were all packing for school vacation week ski trips, and we didn’t have a lot of time to be futzing in the kitchen.
The sausage dish was a delicious, hearty treat, and this cookie-pie dessert was a huge hit with the gang. Peyton and I modified Heidi’s recipe slightly, adding some plump-tart dried cherries we had on hand, as well as some chopped pecans, and I have to say that it turned out perfectly. I’ve had skillet or pan cookies before, and have mostly been disappointed with the results. They have always lacked the delicate balance of crispy exterior and chewy center that I love so much in a great chocolate chip cookie. This recipe gets that ratio just right, with a crunchy, golden brown crust, and a gooey-chewy center.
Add to its textural perfection the fact that it’s made with whole wheat flour, has nice big chocolate chunks as opposed to chips, and as you might have suspected of a recipe from Heidi, is not overly sweet, and you’ve got an easy, throw it all in one pan dessert. Serve it sliced warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a killer after-dinner bite, or cut fully cooled for a more traditional cookie take on things. To make this just as Heidi did eliminate the cherries and nuts, or get creative and do as we did by taking her base recipe and adding your favorite add-ins. Either way, you’ll end up with a fast family favorite, I guarantee.
Cheers – Steve
- 3 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for buttering the pan
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/4- and 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Butter a 10 or 11-inch ovenproof skillet (cast-iron is ideal), one that is at least 2-inches deep. Make sure your pan is at least this deep or you run the risk of a messy overflow.
- Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, and then whisk until blended.
- In another large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and the sugars. Mix just until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes using the mixer on low speed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl along the way if necessary.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined, then add in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour is barely combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add most of the chocolate to the batter. Mix just until the chocolate is evenly incorporated, then scrape the batter out into the buttered skillet, pressing it out into an even layer. Sprinkle any remaining chocolate across the top, and press it into the dough a bit, just enough that it isn't riding directly on top of the dough. Having a few chunks on the top makes for a better looking cookie in the end.
- Bake the cookies for 35-45 minutes, or until until the dough is a deep golden brown along the edge, and the center has set. Remove from oven and let cool a bit before slicing into. Cut into wedges or small squares, as you wish.