Updated on January 9, 2021 by Julia
When I first moved back to America for college and our house finally had an oven, I was ecstatic. Having lived in China for the previous 10 years, we never owned a built-in oven because we were a Chinese family and it was more important to have three different pots for soups and a heavy weight wok. We did, however, own a little toaster oven that my mother never let us use because it made too much of a mess. What was the point? The Chinese rarely bake, most of our wheat based products are steamed such as mantou, a white steamed bun, or baozi, a bun usually filled with meats or vegetables. The rest of our food was cooked over a stove.
I clearly remember moving back to the States and experiencing the wonders of Costco again. The first thing I grabbed off the shelf was a gigantic 7.5 lb/120 oz box of Ghiradelli brownie mix (you know the one!). At that point in my life, if I could make anything come out of the oven that smelled delicious, I was killing it. Those brownies were heaven. They were hefty and fudgy, with a slightly crisp top.
But times have changed, and I typically avoid pre-boxed baking goods. I have nothing against them, but there's a satisfaction to playing around with ingredients from scratch and understanding how different elements create chemical reactions with each other to produce different results.
I had been meaning to make brownies for a while, but thought: "It's such a simple recipe. I have so many others in my archives." (also, this thought is so incorrect, because brownies are definitely not simple) But sometimes, when you're craving a brownie (and also a whole box of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Cookies that are almost going to expire) (I know, what was I thinking letting a whole box of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies go unseen in the back of my pantry?), you just need to whip these bad boys up.
Fair warning, these are fairly heavyweight (both in taste and weight), especially with the use of cocoa powder, two "layers" of brownie, and an entire cookie in the center. Because the recipe uses cocoa powder instead of melting unsweetened baking chocolate, you're getting a much denser, fudgy brownie (see, there is so much science to baking!). Since I was definitely making these to share, I topped half of the batch with chopped walnuts, and left the other half blank for those averse to walnuts. But yum, these definitely hit the spot for any chocolate carvings.
Please note, these are thick because I doubled the batter of a typical serving of brownies. Because I felt like the Trader Joe's cookie sandwiches were quite thick in height, I didnt want them to overtake the brownie. Thus, you're really getting a whole brownie layer, with a cookie, with another whole brownie layer. If you'd like to reduce, feel free to halve the ingredients to get a thinner brownie.
Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies Stuffed Brownies
- 11 Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies sub with any cookies!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 130 grams
- 20 tablespoons unsalted butter 390 grams
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar 300 grams
- 1 ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed) 118 grams
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large cold eggs
- Chopped walnuts/pecans
- Preheat your oven to 325°F/160°C and place a rack in the middle. Line your square pan with parchment paper leaving overhang on two opposite sides. Usually what I like to do is cut out two rectangular strips and place one over the other (this makes it easier to remove the brownies after baking and cooling!)
- In a heatproof medium-sized bowl, combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Melt the mixture and continuously stir until all the cocoa is dissolved. Don’t walk away! Once mixture is thoroughly combined, remove from heat and allow it to cool (you’ll be adding eggs in the next step and you don’t want these to cook!)
- After the mixture has cooled, add in the vanilla essence. Then add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously for each egg until the mixture is thick and shiny.
- Gradually add in the flour and combine with a rubber spatula until all the flour is fully incorporated. It’s going to seem like an arm workout, and well worth it.
- Pour half the mixture into your baking pan and use a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Then line your cookies throughout in neat rows. Because of the size of the cookies, I had rows of 4, 3 and then 4. Pour in the rest of the mixture. Because this batter is so thick, use a rubber spatula to, again, smooth out the top. If adding nuts, sprinkle some on top now and press lightly into the batter (I find that this helps so the nuts aren’t just rolling around after you take them out of the oven).
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly moist (essentially when there’s still slightly some brownie stuck on the toothpick!). This should take about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the brownie completely cool on a rack.
- You can literally substitute any type of cookie or filling. Play around with Oreos, Chips Ahoy. For a couple of things, I put little guava chocolates in the center and when they first came out of the oven, the insides were still gooey, so it almost resembled molten lava chocolate cake– I almost died and went to heaven.
- These were made in a 8 inch square pan. Feel free to adjust ingredients accordingly, and watch for baking times if you are switching pan sizes.