Baked Sunday Mornings: Brooksters

I was so happy to see that the Brookster recipe was included in Baked Elements. I was intrigued when Baked introduced this half brownie-half cookie hybrid in 2010, and then last year Williams-Sonoma started carrying a Brookster box mix. Brooksters were everywhere, except in my kitchen since I didn't have the recipe. I couldn't think of a better recipe as the first selection from Baked Elements for Baked Sunday Mornings.

The first thing I noticed about this recipe is that the serving size is enormous. The recipe only yields six Brooksters and they are supposed to be baked in 4-inch pie pans. I own an awful lot of baking pans, but 4-inch pie pans aren't among them. While the recipe also includes instructions for making the Brooksters in a regular muffin tin, I wanted to try the giant size. I have both 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms and 4-inch tart rings that seemed like they would be reasonable substitutes. I went with the tart rings.

The general gist of this recipe is that you make brownie batter, divide it among the pans, and chill them for three hours. Separately, you make chocolate chip cookie dough and chill it for three hours. Before baking, you form the chocolate chip cookie dough into disks, and press a disk of cookie dough into each pan of brownie batter.

When I made the brownie batter, it seemed quite familiar -- except for the fact that it does not contain espresso powder, it is basically a half-batch of the Baked Brownie from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (flour, cocoa, salt, dark chocolate, butter, sugar, light brown sugar, eggs). The chocolate chip cookie dough seemed fairly standard -- flour, salt, baking soda, butter, dark brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and chocolate chips. After three hours of chilling, the brownie batter had set up well, but the chocolate chip cookie dough was still surprisingly soft and a little sticky.

The recipe mentions that you may have some left over chocolate chip cookie batter, and I thought that the amount of cookie dough was downright ridiculous. Because there was so much cookie batter, I baked my first batch of Brooksters using a lot of cookie dough. I didn't realize the cookie would expand so much during baking. As a result, my tart rings overflowed (the rings are only three-quarters of an inch tall, so admittedly, they are probably too short for this recipe), and the cookie portion was raw inside even though the top was dark golden brown. For my second batch, I made the cookie portion significantly smaller, and the Brooksters turned out perfectly baked throughout. I had enough cookie dough left over (from a double batch of batter) to make two dozen good-sized cookies.

The juxtaposition of textures here is very interesting. The brownie portion is creamy and moist, and the cookie portion has a firm crisp exterior with a chewy center. The Brooksters were tasty. That said, I found them disappointing. I love the Baked Brownie by itself; it is perhaps the paragon of classic brownies - deeply chocolatey, with a luxurious texture. I also loved the plain chocolate chip cookies I made with the leftover dough. But with the brownie and cookie put together, I feel that the Brookster is actually less than the sum of its parts. If you're a cookie fan, the brownie portion doesn't really add much, and if you're a brownie fan, then the chocolate chip cookie portion is just a distraction.

That said, tasters enjoyed the Brooksters and the novelty of the cookie-brownie combination makes them a lot of fun. I want to try them again in different sizes. I also imagine that served warm with ice cream, these would be spectacular.

Recipe: "Brooksters" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Previous Post: "Brownie Tasteoff, Round 1: Classic Brownies," July 6, 2011.


Anonymous said…
Loved your post, and totally agreed on all counts. Good job!
Susan said…
Just perfect! I made the muffin-size ones. I think these would be great to take to a party for the "wow" factor! I haven't made the Baked Brownies yet, but look forward to it since the brownie portion of these is so good.
Oh these turned out beautifully! I agree with a lot of your review. The amount of cookie dough left over was crazy! If I had known, I would have doubled the brownie recipe to allow for more Brooksters! I think the brownies were good, but the cookies on their own were a bit plain. Your photography is wonderful and you really did a great job with this recipe! : )
Candy said…
Your brooksters are beautiful!
Anonymous said…
I had the same amount of batter left over, and that is a good point--why not double the brownie portion for more Brooksters?
Chelly said…
Wow! I love the way your Brooksters look! Fantastic!
Louise said…
Seems like low goodness-to-work ratio and a waste of BAKED brownies, which I love. Most cc cookies benefit with an overnight in the frig. Maybe that would help and it would spread the work over two days. When I try these, I think I'll stuff the excess cc cookies with an Oreo. That's always a hit.
Sheri said…
So smart to use a small tart pan! I should have done that. I used too much cookie, too. And I've got balls of chocolate chip dough sitting in the freezer now, waiting to be baked!..