Deliciousness! Melt-in-your-mouth Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest and from scratch. What could be better? Our recipe was reverse engineered from standard recipes calling for boxed yellow cake mix. The result is simply a sublime buttery, light and tender-crumbed cookie sweetened just right and full of flavor including an enchanting tang from cream cheese. You just can’t have one! Included is a scrumptious and irresistible gluten free variation. Everyone loves these classic cookies inspired by the cream cheese variant of Gooey Butter Cake hailing from the 1930s in the USA Midwest—St. Louis!
A New American Cookie Classic:
Gooey Butter Cookies—Made from Scratch!
My friends, today I am thrilled to share a special cookie recipe with you. If you have never experienced Gooey Butter Cake, or a Gooey Butter Cookie made from scratch, you simply haven’t lived.
Gooey Butter Cookies taste like a delectable pastry cookie from the finest patisserie in town. Its tender and light “cloud-like” crumb is contrasted with a super-thin soft and yet crackly sugar crust that forms during baking after rolling the dough in confectioners’ sugar. Once bitten into, these easy to make cookies take on an irresistible buttery and cheesecake-like flavor, almost fudgy like brownie texture, and then melt in your mouth. Seductive, I tell you!
This recipe comes with a very stern warning, however, straight up and upfront:
WARNING: DO NOT eat the cookie dough or there will not be enough to bake cookies!
Seriously. You just might want to grab a spoon and sneak a trip over to the living room and camp out on the sofa and binge watch TV whilst cozying up with the mixing bowl full of this incredibly wicked cookie dough. It is a cookie dough like no other. You have been warned.
I am telling you, I was unstoppable. Mmm. Paleo diet? What paleo diet? Can I eat ¼ to ½ cup of cookie dough and count that as my 20% of being merely human on the customary 80/20 plan of the paleo diet? Hmmm. Debatable.
Ugh. I felt severe inner guilt not unlike the character, Ralphie Parker, in the film A Christmas Story, with his guilty inner thoughts (of his school chum, abandoned out on the playground in a near snow squall no less, with his tongue frozen to a flag pole and arms flailing), “Flick? Flick who?”
Speaking of Christmas, this was a cookie recipe I wanted to share with y’all back last month but I wanted to create a gluten free variation, first—especially for my gluten free readers. However, I did not have time to squeeze in the necessary GF recipe testing during the busy whirlwind holiday season. So, why am I posting them now? There is a method to my madness and that’s all I am saying for now. However, I will share this…at the end of each month, I will be sharing a “Holiday Cookie of the Month” as part of a new recipe series from Wicked Good Kitchen. The cookie recipe may be seasonal or unseasonal to make it fun and interesting.
Let’s Make Gooey Butter Cookies
Once I tasted the cookie dough for our Gooey Butter Cookies, the taste reminded me of two recipes found in the iconic Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book that I remember baking with my Grandma Gigi at Christmastime—Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies and Lemon Cheese Press Cookies made with 2 sticks of butter and 3 ounces of cream cheese. Of the two, my favorite was the Lemon Cheese Press Cookies that also afforded me the opportunity to learn to use my grandmother’s old-fashioned cookie press with a turning knob at the top. Such fun.
It was a big deal to help my grandmother bake when I was only 7 years old. I was completely fascinated with baking from a very early age and even developed my first original recipe in the first grade (using a boxed cake mix!) and submitted it to my elementary school’s newspaper. It was a project assigned to my entire first grade class by our lovely and beautiful teacher, Miss Jacobs. There is more to the story and I really should share it here on the blog as part of the On Baking series I started when I first began blogging. Also, I should try to track down that edition of the school newspaper! It would be hilarious to read that recipe today.
Gooey Butter Cookies after rolling in confectioners’ sugar and just before baking.
When I developed this recipe, I started by reviewing the classic recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies using a box of yellow cake mix and calling for 1 stick of butter, 1 brick of cream cheese and an egg. It sure seemed easy enough. To formulate the amount of flour, I then looked at recipes for homemade yellow cake mix. At first, I didn’t trust the amount of baking powder that would be needed, but the cookies are supposed to be puffed and crackled on top so that kept my faith.
At that point, I decided to start with 2¼ cups of flour (the same amount of flour called for in classic Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies, thinking I could go either up or down easily from there) and the 2 teaspoons of baking powder rounding down from 2¼ teaspoons called for in the Yellow Cake Mix recipe at Food.com. To my great surprise, the cookies turned out perfectly! I love when that happens.
Then, as part of my due diligence in conducting further recipe research before I publish my own, I did find two (2) recipes for Gooey Butter Cookies made from scratch—one from Lottie + Doof and one from Dessert for Two. I was amazed at how similar our recipes were. In fact, I felt a sense of culinary validation as the recipe published on the Lottie + Doof blog was developed by a pastry chef, Mathew Rice.
Gooey Butter Cookies after being baked and before dusting with extra confectioners’ sugar.
Now, let’s talk about the gluten free version of our Gooey Butter Cookies…
Honestly, the gluten free variation of our Gooey Butter Cookies is phenomenally good. In fact, you simply cannot tell that they are gluten free! And there are three (3) very important reasons as to why.
First, it all starts with the right gluten free flour blend—in this case, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour—and the perfect amount of guar gum. Yes, I prefer guar gum to xanthan gum for my gluten free baking for allergy reasons in addition to many other reasons. But, I will leave that for a future post on gluten free baking and ingredients.
Second, gluten free baking almost always benefits from the addition of dairy. I learned this very early on with my gluten free baking recipe development when I developed my recipe for Gluten Free Honey-Nut Rugelach for Bob’s Red Mill. In addition, this concept and practice is confirmed by the folks over at America’s Test Kitchen. In their book, The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook, the authors confirm that the addition of dairy, in the form of cream cheese or sour cream in gluten free baking, or in the form of nonfat milk powder added to their gluten free flour blend recipe, not only adds flavor, richness, structure and tenderness, dairy also contributes to the Maillard reaction—which is essentially a chemical reaction that creates browning and additional pleasing flavors during baking.
Third, our recipe for Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies calls for a trip in the refrigerator to both rest and chill the dough for 1 hour. Do not skip this step. The resting is especially important because 1) the resting period allows the sugar to dissolve and the flours to be properly hydrated therefore prevent a gritty texture and 2) the very sticky dough must be chilled to firm it up in order to be rolled between palms of hands and then rolled in confectioners’ sugar before baking as well as promote the overall structure of the cookies and prevent excessive spreading during baking.
King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
Let’s now briefly talk gluten free flour…
Why does Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommend King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour?
By blending white rice and whole-grain brown rice flours with pure starches, such as tapioca and potato, while avoiding corn, dairy, nut, sorghum (grass) and soy products as well as gums and leavening agents, gluten free bakers in the food allergic and celiac communities have a safe and well-tested gluten free flour that performs exceedingly well on a multi-purpose level.
Quite simply, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend provides greater flexibility than other brands by allowing bakers and recipe developers to create recipes where the amounts of guar gum or xanthan gum and leavening agents, like baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and yeast, can be added accordingly for a wide range of applications from baking breads, cakes and cookies to savory dishes.
The good news is that King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend, is readily available among gluten free flours at Whole Foods Market® and most grocery stores.
Plus, since I am severely allergic to corn and any corn-derived food additives, I am safe from allergic reactions using KAF GF flour. Sadly, I can no longer work with gluten free flours that contain cornstarch.
For my gluten free readers, all I can say is thank the Lord above that King Arthur Flour® makes an exceptional Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend and that Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese is gluten free or there would be no incredibly scrumptious Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies and all the variations (coming soon to the blog) made from scratch!
Although I am enthusiastic about King Arthur Flour® products, I am not a compensated blogger, recipe developer or spokesperson for the company. I just love their products and catalog! In fact, I have been a happy KAF customer having received their catalog for over 20 years now and remember the days before it became the full-color catalog filled with every baker’s needs as it is known today.
As for the confectioners’ or powdered sugar called for in the recipe, I found a fabulous corn-free confectioners’ sugar. This is excellent news for those who are allergic to corn, a major food allergen, because most powdered sugars contain cornstarch. It is also convenient to keep on hand when I am short on time and don’t have my own powdered sugar made from scratch, using a blender, with pure cane sugar and tapioca flour.
My favorite corn-free (cornstarch free) and vegan powdered sugar, 365 Everyday Value brand Organic Powdered Sugar by Whole Foods Market® shown below.
Organic Powdered Sugar, 365 Everyday Value® brand by Whole Foods Market®.
For my friends that do not have a Whole Foods Market® nearby, I highly recommend Wholesome Sweeteners for corn-free powdered sugar that can be found online in their store at Amazon.com.
When The Big Lug sampled the gluten free version of these scrumptious Gooey Butter Cookies, he could not believe that they were gluten free. That is saying quite a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur.
During the holiday season, I shared with you that my husband’s favorite cookie in the universe is my recipe for Honey-Nut Rugelach. Well, there is a good reason for that—the scrumptious cream cheese pastry. So, when he tasted these fabulous Gooey Butter Cookies, he met yet another favorite cookie! However, right away, he asked me to make Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies and it just happens to be my very next post. Other variations have been thoroughly tested and are coming very soon to the blog. They are variations you will absolutely love. Hey, I have been a very busy baker over here in “the lab” at Wicked Good Kitchen! 🙂
Here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we hope that our recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies becomes a new favorite and tradition for your family.
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
- 2¼ cups (270 grams) pure organic unbleached all-purpose flour, such as Hodgson Mill®
- 2 teaspoons (about 8 grams) aluminum free baking powder
- 1 (8-ounce/226-gram) package organic cream cheese, such as Organic Valley®, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) organic grass-fed unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups (300 grams) organic pure cane granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 large organic egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 75 grams w/o shells)
- 1 cup (120 grams) organic pure cane confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
Tips:Chill dough between batches to keep it firm enough to roll and to prevent excessive spreading during baking. Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch. Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches. How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container. How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container. These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge. Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking. Variation: For Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2¼ cups (360 grams) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 grams) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. (It is important to whisk in guar gum until evenly distributed throughout the flour because it is very sticky once moisture is added and sticky lumps are undesirable in dough.) Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the baking powder. Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.