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Fudgy brownies made with a chocolate chip cookie dough layer baked right inside and topped with a safe-to-eat, creamy chocolate chip cookie dough buttercream. Perfect for when you can’t decide on whether to choose a cookie or a brownie!
Just when you thought a classic fudgy brownie couldn’t possibly get any better, I throw peanut butter cookie brownies, tiramisu brownies, and salted caramel brownies into the mix and change your mind.
But then, on days like today, we really go next level. Today’s brownie, October’s installment of FAF’s Brownie of The Month, is EPIC.
Like “turn you into a believer of brownies if you aren’t already” kind of epic, as evidenced by our nanny who is a self-proclaimed non-brownie lover (we’ll call her a brownie “liker”).
Her exact words were “you made me love brownies! It’s never been done before!”
So are you ready for these epic cookie dough brownies?
Let’s break down exactly what we’ve got here.
THE COOKIE DOUGH CENTER
Baked right on the inside of the entire pan of brownies is straight up chocolate chip cookie dough.
Though I do have a recipe for safe-to-eat cookie dough balls, this particular chocolate chip cookie dough comes to us from Kristen Tomlan, CEO of DŌ and author of Hello, Cookie Dough, which is where we got chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream pie last year.
Though this cookie dough layer gets baked with the brownie batter in the oven, we’re still using heat-treated flour and pasteurized egg whites (both of which we will get to shortly) because this cookie dough also goes into…
THE COOKIE DOUGH BUTTERCREAM
…the most amazing buttercream I’ve ever had in my entire life.
The base of this buttercream is just like any standard buttercream (butter + powdered sugar), but it’s full of actual chocolate chip cookie dough bits to bring it that iconic cookie dough flavor and an incredibly smooth, sweet & salty addition to the brownies.
So let’s talk about the important ingredients that make this raw cookie dough safe to eat.
WHAT IS HEAT-TREATED FLOUR?
Heat-treated flour is really important.
As kids, we’re told not to eat raw dough or batter because we could get salmonella from the eggs.
But what about the flour? Is raw flour safe to eat?
Think about it– wheat grows in a field where all sorts of critters crawl around in it, fly over it, drop yucky things into it (because, HELLO, nature!), and then that wheat gets harvested.
Is it harboring disease? How about E. coli? It’s very possible.
If it is, then it just sits in that flour bag, waiting to be used.
Then, if we put it into a cake batter or a cookie dough, we bake that goodie and effectively burn off any bacteria.
So what if we aren’t baking that flour? We have to effectively squash that bacteria so it’s truly safe to ingest that raw cookie dough.
To make your own heat-treated flour you have two options:
1) Place flour on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and bake at 300ºF (149ºC), checking the internal temperature at 2 minute intervals, and looking for a uniform 165ºF (74ºC) internal temperature for safety.
2) Alternatively, you can heat the flour in the microwave on HIGH in 30 second increments, then stirring before checking for a uniform 165ºF (74ºC) internal temperature.
Allow heat-treated flour to cool, then sift to remove any large chunks. It is now ready to use.
You can also purchase your own heat-treated flour directly from Kristen.
USING PASTEURIZED EGG WHITES
As for the pasteurized egg whites, we always have a carton of egg whites in our fridge. You can find this in your regular grocery store, usually right next to the eggs.
You also have the option of pasteurizing your own egg whites– plenty of great tutorials if you click through the internet!
If you’d rather leave eggs out of it completely, see the notes in the recipe for using a mixture of cornstarch and milk.
We’ll flatten this cookie dough into chunky pieces to lay right on top of the brownie batter.
As I mentioned, the rest of it goes into the cookie dough buttercream.
This buttercream begins with butter + powdered sugar, but after that’s all come together, you’ll split the rest of the cookie dough you have in half.
One half goes into the buttercream in chunks that get completely mixed into the buttercream.
The remaining half also goes in in chunks, but we’ll just mix those in until they’re incorporated so that we’re left with a creamy cookie dough buttercream base with lots of chunks of solid cookie dough.
I’m telling you– it’s incredible!
Once the brownies are completely cool, they’re ready for the good stuff. This cookie dough buttercream is soft and I actually found it pretty easy to push around with a spatula and then mold with my hands.
I also topped the brownies + buttercream with a few more mini-chocolate chips because, well, duh.
I am so serious that these brownies are definitely at the top of my list (I know, I say that every month!!) as my new fav remix of brownies.
The fudgy brownie base is unbeatable, but use it as a sandwich for chocolate chip cookie dough? Now we’re talkin’!
The cookie dough buttercream on top just takes these chocolate chip cookie dough brownies to the serious next level. We’ve got a lot to live up to in the last 2 installments of this monthly brownie recipe business, but I think we can round it out well.
Hmm… I might need to whip up another batch of these to get my brownie gears going again. Who’s with me??
Cookie Dough Brownies
- 1 and ⅛ cup (135g) heat-treated flour1
- 1 teaspoon (3g) cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 2 and ½ Tablespoons (38g) pasteurized egg whites2 at room temperature
- ½ Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (112g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter cut into 6-8 slices
- 8 ounces (227g) semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup (150g) firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature preferred3
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
COOKIE DOUGH BUTTERCREAM
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (5g) milk or cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- ½ cup reserved cookie dough
- In a small bowl, sift together the heat-treated flour, cornstarch, and salt. Remove any large chunks of flour that may remain. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and continue to beat until smooth.
- Add the egg white and the vanilla and beat again on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined, then add the chocolate chips and mix again until evenly dispersed.
- Refrigerate or freeze cookie dough for 15 minutes, or until the dough is easy to handle.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line an 8" or 9" square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently until completely smooth. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Whisk sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth, then add the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and stir gently until completely combined.
- Pour about ¼ of the batter into the prepared pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (use a spatula or spoon to spread it out). Set aside.
- Remove ½ cup of the cookie dough and set aside. Working with the remaining cookie dough, pull off quarter-size chunks and flatten with your fingers. Place flattened chunks randomly on top of the brownie batter until all of the batter is covered. It's ok if some spots are not covered.
- Once you have covered the batter, you can add whatever cookie dough is leftover to the reserved ½ cup. This cookie dough will be used for the frosting, and you should now have a total of about ¾ cup reserved for that.
- Pour the remaining brownie batter evenly on top of the flattened cookie dough chunks, using a spatula or spoon to gently cover all of the cookie dough. Gently tap the baking pan on the counter a few times to encourage any air bubbles between the cookie dough and brownie batter to pop. Bake brownies for 34-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow brownies to cool completely before frosting.
COOKIE DOUGH BUTTERCREAM
- In a medium size bowl with a handheld mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla, milk, and salt and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high to let the frosting get light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). The frosting will become lighter in color as air incorporates into it.
- Reduce the mixer speed to medium. Divide the reserved cookie dough in half. Working with one half, break the reserved cookie dough into quarter-size chunks and add to the frosting a few at a time. Continue to mix on medium speed until all the chunks are added, then turn the mixer to high and mix until the chunks disappear and are completely blended into the frosting.
- Break the remaining half of the reserved cookie dough into quarter-size chunks, and add all of the chunks at one time to the bowl, and mix on medium speed until just incorporated.
- Remove the cooled brownies from the baking pan using the foil overhangs, peel back remaining foil, and place brownie block onto a large cutting board. Cover the brownies with the cookie dough buttercream. The buttercream is sturdy enough that you can use your hands to help spread it around. Top with more mini chocolate chips, if desired, then cut into squares. Store leftover brownies at room temperature up to 1 week. Brownies freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
- Heat treated flour: place flour on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and bake at 300ºF (149ºC), checking the internal temperature at 2 minute intervals, and looking for a uniform 165ºF (74ºC) internal temperature for safety. Alternatively, you can heat the flour in the microwave on HIGH in 30 second increments, then stirring before checking for a uniform 165ºF (74ºC) internal temperature. Allow heat-treated flour to cool, then sift to remove any large chunks. It is now ready to use.
- Pasteurized egg whites: I prefer to purchase pasteurized egg whites in a carton at my grocery store (near where the eggs are sold). Alternatively, you can pasteurize the egg whites yourself– lots of easy tutorials if you search for one! If you’d rather not use egg whites at all, use 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch whisked with 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons room temperature milk (whole is best, but lower fat or non-dairy will work, too).
- Room temperature eggs: these incorporate into batter much more easily than cold eggs, although this is not absolutely necessary.