I've heard these described as a riff on St. Louis' famous Gooey Butter Cake with the spirit of a snickerdoodle
One of my friends pronounced that it was like fruit cobbler... without all that pesky fruit.
[And that's after we stole remnants of it off the floor like animals after I shattered this dessert and the 9x11 pan it was housed in all over the kitchen floor... minutes before guests were served and just before the already suspense-laden mid-season premier of Breaking Bad.]
But really, this simple recipe is just a glorified excuse to eat tiny bars of sugar butter.
You're welcome / Thanks Smitten Kitchen!
Gooey Butter Cinnamon Squares
Adapted from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
8 Tbs. [115 grams / 1 stick] unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan - at room temperature
1 1/2 c. [188 grams] all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
3/4 c. [150 grams] granulated sugar
1 lg. egg
1/4 c. [60ml] milk
Gooey Butter Layer
1/4 c. [60ml] honey (light corn syrup or golden syrup can be substituted. I like the floral richness honey adds.)
1/4 c. [60ml] half and half (milk or heavy cream can be substituted as well. This cake is already drowning in butter, so you may as well go with the most fattening you have on hand.)
1 Tbs. vanilla
12 Tbs. [170 grams / 1 1/2 sticks] unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. + 2 Tbs [225 grams] granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 lg. egg
1 1/4 c. [155 grams] all-purpose flour
Cinnamon Sugar Shatter Top
2 Tbs. [25 grams] granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch flaky sea salt [optional]
Preheat oven to 350°and line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper [this will make removing and cutting the squares easier, but is not necessary] If using parchment, butter paper and any exposed sides of pan. If not using parchment paper, simply butter the sides and bottom of pan.
- Cookie base -
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 8Tbs of butter and 3/4c. granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and milk, mixing until combined being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Spread cookie base evenly onto prepared pan and set aside.
- Gooey Butter Layer -
In a small bowl, mix honey [or liquid sweetener of your choice,] half and half [or milk of your choice,] and vanilla until well combined. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add in egg, being sure to scrape down sides of bowl and mix until combined - about 10 seconds. With the mixer still running [I set my Kitchenaid to a low setting - stir or 2 - so as not to overwhelm my kitchen in a pouf of flour] mix in 1/3 of the flour until just combined, then add 1/2 the honey mixture - mixing until just incorporated, repeat, with 1/2 of the remaining flour then the remaining vanilla honey mixture, and then add the last 1/3 of the flour, mixing until just combined.
Spread gooey butter layer evenly over cookie base.
- Cinnamon Sugar Topping -
Stir together the cinnamon, sugar, and pinch of sea salt if using. Sprinkle evenly across the top of the gooey layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cinnamon sugar topping has a bronzed, caramelized look. The dessert will rise and fall while baking, but may still appear somewhat liquidy beneath the cinnamon sugar topping as you remove it from the oven. If in doubt, err on under-baking as half the pleasure of these treats comes from their gooey consistency.
Allow to cool completely [several hours] before cutting - dipping your knife in warm water and then wiping dry allows for cleaner cuts. They're quite rich so small 1-2" squares should suffice.
They slice much more easily the next day... but good luck waiting that long.
I already admitted it's good enough to eat off the floor, potentially with bits of tempered glass embedded in its crust [no shame in that game...] but if I told you someone tried to George Costanza the rest out of the garbage [it wasn't me this time!] would you hop to your kitchen and give it a try real soon? ♥