It transpires that this quintessential feel good baked treat – a giant chocolate chip cookie usually baked in a cast iron skillet, was given its name and fame by Oregano’s, a popular restaurant in Tucson Arizona. The love child of a pizza and cookie, the perfect Pizookie is soft and gooey on the inside with a crispy edge, served warm, straight out of the oven with obligatory scoops of vanilla ice cream melting into the middle.
I consider myself reasonably well versed in the joys of a skillet bake. I spent a good portion of a lockdown amusing myself with the challenge of baking absolutely everything in my favourite cast iron. Given my prolific pan baking, I was more than a little mortified when a very special person asked for a Pizookie for his birthday celebrations last weekend and I drew a complete blank.
Task in hand, I quickly got to work testing cookie dough scenarios. I needed an all-round solution for how to best fill the pan to produce the required crispy edge, the desired just soft but not too gooey centre and the perfect amount of chocolatey (but not overwhelmingly so) for the nostalgic birthday skillet Pizookie thingy……..
Basically, you can use any favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, pressed into a greased skillet or cake tin and baked until golden and delicious. As a guide, I recommend using about 25% less mixture than a regular full recipe for 12-18 cookies in a 26cm /10 inch skillet for optimal goo to crust ratio. And feel free to pimp it up for fun with marshmallows, nuts, a variety of chocolate, whatever takes your fancy.
I have adapted my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie for you to try here. It’s the recipe I used for last week’s birthday treat (because I know it is his favourite) with a few tweaks, but I will leave some suggestions for flavours and accessorising at the bottom of so you can play around and have fun with this. Because I think we all need to remember how to have a little fun.
I make this in a 26cm /10 inch cast iron pan, but you can make it in any baking tin of the same dimension or any stainless steel pan of your choice. If you only have a larger or smaller skillet to hand, scale the ingredients up or down accordingly (tip: the original full cookie recipe here fils a 12 inch skillet).
As we slowly return to gathering around the table with friends, this is a dreamy casual dessert. You can make the dough in advance, place it in the pan, covered in the fridge for a few hours (or up to 3 days), popping it in the oven to bake as you sit down to eat, ready to serve warm, topped with ice cream and sharing spoons (technically no plates required).
In testing out the variations in this recipe I found at one point that there were 4 chocolate chip cookie pies hanging around in my kitchen, so I sliced them into wedges (yes, think pizza slice) and froze them ready to add to packed lunches or, as I find in my house, eaten in their favourite form – frozen and straight out of the freezer. Please don’t judge.
I happen to have a thing for brown butter. I use it whenever I can. It adds a nutty depth of flavour that is unrivalled and elevates the could-be-ordinary to the very-extraordinary. It’s baking umami. But if you don’t have the patience, or share my love for brown butter, use 140g melted butter. (Side note: I made the birthday Pizookie in LA and found that American butter has a higher water content than European butter. As a result I had to use 190g butter to achieve my 140g browned butter. If once the butter is browned you find that there is not quite the right quantity when weighed, just add a few cubes of cold butter at a time to the hot browned butter until you reach the desired quantity.)
This can be baked right away, but I personally prefer to let it rest a little in the fridge once the dough is in the pan, just so that it is ready exactly when I want it. When you are ready to bake, remove the cookie dough from the fridge while the oven preheats. Otherwise just turn on the oven when you begin making the dough.
- 170g (6oz) salted butter (reduced to 140g (5oz) browned butter)
- 210g (1 2/3 cups) plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp maldon salt (increase to 1tsp if using unsalted butter)
- 125g (1/2 cup plus 2tbps) light brown soft sugar
- 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 170g (6oz) chopped dark chocolate in good sized pieces or chocolate calettes (chunks are good in the cookies)
Start with browning the butter. Cut the butter into equal sized pieces and place in a small-ish saucepan on a medium heat. Swirl intermittently and wait for it to bubble and foam (it will triple in height so make sure your pan is big enough to allow for this). When the foam subsides it will reveal a walnut coloured caramel colour with the solids at the bottom of the pan. The butter is browned, be careful not to let it burn at this stage. Pour the browned butter into a small bowl or jar on a scale to check the weight and to cool a little before adding the rest of the ingredients – it should now weigh 140g.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt. Lightly mix together with a whisk or a fork to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, browned butter and egg and egg yolk until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and whisk a few more times.
Pour in the flour mixture and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon in one direction until it is a smooth mixture.
Add the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.
Butter your skillet (or baking pan) and press the dough into the base and ever so slightly up the sides.
Either cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to bake, or preheat your oven now to 180C (350F)
When you are ready to bake, place in the lower third of your oven for 20-22 minutes (depending on how cold your dough is). It is ready when golden brown and set but still soft in the middle.
Allow to cool for 10 mins before serving. We tend to dive straight in with spoons (avoiding plates and any extra dirty dishes), or you can slice and serve like a pie.
Add marshmallows and graham crackers stirred into to the mixture.
Replace 40g (1/3 cup) plain flour with the same amount of cocoa poweder. Use the same amount of white chocolate chunks or chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate
Make variation above for reverse chocolate chip Pizookie adding toasted almonds (roughly chopped) and marshamallows
Add toasted and roughly chopped pecans or walnuts into the mixture.
Experiment with chocolates – use a mixture of dark and milk, dark and light, your favourite malted balls…….the list goes on.
Please send me your favourite cookie dough flavours and variations. I would love to know what you are baking.
Have you made this dish?
Let me know what you think, share your efforts and any tweaks you made to the recipe on Instagram, don’t forget to tag #BuildingFeasts or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org