Throw Oprah Winfrey and J. Hardspear de la Azotea in the mix and you have a winning recipe. I was watching an Oprah show on how a boy overcame the sorrow of his twin brother dying of cancer by starting a home business baking cookies and the story really touched me. Oprah asked the boy what his favourite cookies is and he replied without hesitation - Paula Deen's Gooey Chocolate Butter Cookies. In true Oprah style, she then produced Paula Deen with a flourish. The look of surprise, adoration, excitement and emotion on the boy's face caused me to choke and tear up.
The very next day I went on Paula Deen's website and obtained the recipe for the cookies. People who read my blog will know that I am a proponent of the slow food movement and making things from scratch with fresh ingredients. Now... it is impossible not to be seduced sometimes by the Americans and their easy and effortless way of doing things. Paula Deen's recipe is a stellar example of this. I had to adjust the measurements to suit the products available in SA though, and because Mrs. Paarman is known for the quality of her products, she was the natural choice. So here then the best chocolate cookies I have ever had.
Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
Makes two dozen.
1x teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
Icing sugar, for dusting
1x 600 g box Ina Paarman chocolate cake mix
1x 250 g block (NOT TUB) Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
125 g butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 180˚C. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Mix in the cake mix with a wooden spoon. This takes some elbow grease. At first the mixture will look crumbly, but keep on mixing till it combines nicely into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the cookie dough into 2 long sausages. Slice each sausage into 12 equal sized medallions. Form into balls and then roll them in icing sugar. Use 2 ungreased baking sheets and arrange 12 cookies on each, taking care to leave spaces between the cookies. Bake 11 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Do not be tempted to eat straight from the oven – they are really much better cooled down. I’ve found they are best if kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Don’t over bake. These are not biscuits as we South Africans are used to – It is an American Style Cookie.
(photo from Paula Deen's website)