Filed under: Bars / Brownies & Blondies
October 6, 2020

Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

These fudgy chocolatey brownies have a secret cookie dough layer baked in which stays ‘dough’ like even after baked!

Yield: 10
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Our beloved brownies are now stuffed with cookie dough! A cookie dough layer that stays soft and ‘dough’ like is baked into the center of the very best, thick fudgy brownies. 

cookie dough brownies stacked

Brownies Stuffed with Cookie Dough

I cannot claim credit for this brilliant idea. That goes to my 3 year old daughter, Lilia, who, back in the spring, randomly said to me from across the living room, “Mama you should make brownies with cookie dough.” I immediately LOVED the idea, it was not long after I had made my cookie dough pie and so edible cookie dough was already hot on my mind.

Combining cookie dough and brownies isn’t new. When I did a search, a ton of recipes came up, all fairly similar: a layer of brownie (fully baked) and atop it a layer of unbaked cookie dough. But when Lilia had suggested it, what popped into my mind was something like this Cookie Dough Cake by Jenna of Butternut Bakery; I wanted to bake the dough straight into the brownies so it would be a happy surprise within each bite.

(below: my first attempt, back in February)

 

cookie dough brownies

 

Two parts to this recipe: cookie dough layer and brownie

In these brownies are three layers and two parts: brownie, cookie dough, more brownie. If you’ve made either of my brownie recipes before; this one will be familiar. Since I really wanted a lot of ‘gooyeness’ as well as that flaky top, I went with my ‘shiny top brownie’ recipe. It uses a mixture of cocoa and chocolate; the added grated chocolate gives it the signature flaky and shiny top and really leans into a fudgy, gooey interior.

The cookie dough layer was a bit trickier to nail down. The first time I made this dish I adapted the dough from this chocolate chip cookie ganache pie recipe and used heavy cream to thin out the texture, but the dough got hard and crumbly after it baked (you can kind of see it in the photo). The second time I kept the recipe but froze the cookie dough; and had the same issue. I went back to the drawing board to find a way to keep the dough super soft even after it was baked.

 

The secret ingredient

In order to thin out the dough but keep it soft even after it bakes between two baked brownie layers, I needed something that would give it moisture, and resist the heat of the oven to firm it up. I guessed that sweetened condensed milk could work; this is milk that has had most of the water removed and sugar added. To the dough it would add some sweetness (which is why I reduce the sugar a bit) but the heavy dairy/sugar liquid here means that the dough won’t bake.

I keep several cans of Eagle Brand®’s Sweetened Condensed Milk in my pantry for various uses (see hazelnut bars, no churn ice cream, dulce ganache, one pint personalized ice creams) and pulled one out to make the dough and it worked like magic. The dough stayed doughy!

 

cookie dough brownies with eagle brand sweetened condensed milk

 

Make the cookie dough layer ahead of time

You’ll make this similar to most cookie dough recipes: beat together the butter and sugar and add the rest of the ingredients. There is no egg (we don’t want these to bake into actual cookies) and there is less flour. Speaking of flour: you may wish to heat-treat the flour by toasting it on a sheet pan for 5 minutes in a 350 F oven, but it may be that the full dish bakes long enough that you needn’t worry, although I did not test this with a thermometer to confirm.

To freeze the dough you’ll layer parchment paper in a + shape so you have overhang on all four sides of the metal pan (the one in which you will be baking the brownies). Then spread the cookie dough into a single layer and stick it in the freezer.

It needs to be frozen until solid (I usually do it for 8 hours or overnight) but if you want to have it ready a few days ahead, move it out of the pan you shape and initially froze it in and store it in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.

 

cookie dough brownies

cookie dough brownies overhead shot with middles exposed

How to bake cookie dough brownies

Once the cookie dough is made and frozen, you’ll make the brownie batter. I cook my cocoa, sugar and butter over a double boiler (a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl) and then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk them in. For the chocolate you can use a food processor to make it very fine or you can do this with a knife, but do your best to get tiny bits.

Now you’ll remove the cookie dough from the freezer and from the pan and peel off the parchment. If the parchment comes off clean you can reuse it to bake the brownies. Then you’ll do the layering: brownie batter, frozen dough, remaining brownie batter. Simple!

Bake time: This is the trickiest part to this recipe; you want the brownies to be done, but not overly so to keep the cookie dough soft and the brownies fudgy. I give a bake time here but in reality it could vary based on your oven and the material of the pan you use. Use your senses to check; when it’s just slightly puffed in the center it’s done.

 

Steps to make cookie dough brownies:

  1. Make cookie dough layer and freeze.
  2. Make brownie batter.
  3. Layer the brownie batter and the cookie dough.
  4. Bake!

 

stack of cookie dough brownies on a cake stand with mini chips scattered about

Ingredients for Cookie Dough Brownies

Chocolate: use a good quality eating chocolate that is about 70% cocoa solids. Don’t use a baking bar; they are never as good.

Cocoa: Dutch cocoa is the reason these brownies are dark, rich and deeply chocolatey. I like Guittard, and Rodelle. I have also used Saco Pantry’s blend of natural and dutch to make these brownies and loved it too. Avoid natural cocoa and black cocoa here as the resulting taste will be different.

Brown Sugar: For the cookie dough and you can use dark or light; don’t substitute with granulated as it doesn’t have the same caramely ccc taste or add enough moisture.

Chocolate Chips: Mini, but get a good quality! Mini because the regular sized ones are quite chunky in a bar and you’d miss the dough but if you can only find regular go for it. I normally say chop up a chocolate bar but you want the bits of chocolate to stay intact after baking (for looks and texture) and chip is the only way to do this.

(below: a few more photos of early attempts where the dough had too much moisture and bubbled around. Will not lie: the batch was delicious even if it wasn’t gooey!)

 

cookie dough brownies

Recipe for cookie dough stuffed brownies

Update 6/2021: The recipe has been scaled down and now makes enough to fit a square 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan. Hopefully this will help with the issue of under-doneness some readers are having.

 

Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

Our beloved brownies are now stuffed with cookie dough! A cookie dough layer that stays soft and ‘dough’ like is baked into the center of the very best, thick fudgy brownies. 
cookie dough brownies stacked
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Yields: 10
4.89 from 9 votes

Ingredients

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (113g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar 105g
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 80g
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 80g
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk 75g

BROWNIES

  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter 183g, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 300g
  • 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa 40g
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons all purpose flour 40g
  • 150 g dark chocolate 55-70% cocoa solids, chopped or ground in a food processor

Method

  • To make the cookie dough layer:
  • Line a 9×9” or 8×8″ metal pan with parchment overhang on all sides (so crossed over each other). Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. Add the flour and sweetened condensed milk and beat to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips. Plop the dough onto the prepared pan and spread it around to make one flat layer. Freeze the layer for a few hours, or overnight.
  • To make the brownie batter:
  • Preheat the oven to 340 F. Over a bain marie (a heatproof bowl over simmering water, where the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) add the butter. Once it has melted add the sugar and cocoa. Stir it until the temperature reaches 140 F. Remove from heat and add the salt and vanilla and whisk. Once no longer too hot to touch, add the eggs and whisk the batter for a few minutes until you have a very shiny, smooth batter. Fold in the flour and the chocolate.
  • To make the cookie dough brownies:
  • Using the parchment overhang, remove the frozen cookie dough layer. Return the parchment to the pan and pour in ⅔ of the batter. Set the frozen square over the batter and spread the remaining ⅓ brownie batter over it. Bake until the middle has slightly puffed to show doneness, about 45 minutes.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    Chocolatey gooeyness on a whole other level! I baked my batch a bit longer than recommended, just because I was worried that they would be underbaked, but they came out perfect :). The cookie dough in the middle totally stayed dough-like and didn’t bake into a cookie layer, how magical! Can’t wait to make these again. 🤎

  2. Looks like a typing error on recipe.
    3/4 cup butter for brownie = 183g printed as 83g

    Thanks recipe looks amazing def. Give it a try

  3. hey, just to let you know I think the butter measurement in grams is off for the brownie part of the recipe. I think it should be more like 170 grams, not 83, for 3/4 cup of butter.

  4. Hi ma’am it looks drooling… but I m pure veg… what would be the substitute of eggs in this recipe??

  5. Made these last night and they were delicious after sitting in the fridge overnight – perfect crust with very fudgy inside. I don’t really taste the cookie dough as a distinct flavor or texture, so personally I’m not convinced it’s worth the extra step instead of just making regular brownies. It is an impressive visual novelty though and was fun to try out, and good to know you can make a great cookie dough substitute without eggs. I cut down the sugar in the brownie batter to 2 cups and it was PLENTY sweet – hard to imagine with 3 cups 🤔 Also made my own sweetened condensed milk for the first time – I recommend trying it if you have the time, as it’s very easy and far cheaper than store-bought. If you end up with extra you can always make Vietnamese coffee ☺️

  6. Okay, I want to make these beauties today but my freezer is packed full! Would it work to put them in the fridge instead, or is the freezer step
    Essential?

      • 4 stars
        I made two batches of these today! I’m a bit torn on them. They taste amazing! No question about that. However, I baked them for about ten min longer than your recommended time (55 min + an extra ten) and found that even though the top looked down and was puffed up, they were definitely were underdone inside. I love gooey brownies, but these were a whole new level! My husband loves them, but I made them for his co-workers and I am afraid they are “too gooey” to the point where people would think they are not baked all the way. They are definitely a bit messy, and unfortunately the cookie layer isn’t very visible in most pieces. It just kind of disappeared in the brownie batter once baked.

        So I guess my question is, how gooey are these intended to be? I’m hoping mine are actually baked through all the way! I have an oven thermometer (I bake a new recipe almost daily, so it’s essential for me) and I baked it for even longer than recommended, followed the steps and ingredients to a T (with two batches) so either these are supposed to be the gooiest brownie known to mankind or something is up with the bake time, ingredients, or me 😂

        • The same thing happened to me! I had to use a glass pan instead of a metal one, so I thought that may have been my issue. Just like you, I baked them for an extra 15-20 minutes and turned up the temperature of the oven to help them cook more. They still were very gooey to the point of seeming underdone. Delicious, but I don’t feel comfortable handing them out to people without being able to tell them they reached a safe internal cooking temperature.

          • 5 stars
            I made these again with the recipe halved (as you have updated it!) and chopped the chocolate more finely. The brownies definitely appear more cooked but still maintain the gooey, fudgy consistency! They were SO tasty and I’m sure would be a crowd pleaser anywhere I served them. I really appreciate you updating the recipe and helping people with different results in the comments. I definitely didn’t follow the recipe exactly (no metal pan and a few errors on my part), but the changes you posted really helped! Thank you Sam!!

          • Julia & Angelina,

            I am really wondering where things went wrong here. I do know that glass conducts heat differently (it would take longer as you mentioned, but also the evenness is different). I wonder if you both shaped your cookie dough in the same pan and how you distributed the brownie batter between layer, how finely you chopped your chocolate and what kind of chocolate, butter and cocoa you used (cocoas come in varieties and some have more fat). There’s a lot of variables here to go through.

            What I’ve done is scaled the recipe to a square pan which is what I usually bake these in. I think that will help with bake time. If you make them again, use a metal square pan (8 or 9 inches) and do your best to make sure there’s equal batter on the bottom and top of the cookie dough layer.

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. This is the best dessert I have ever had in my life. The brownies are the gooey but not wet texture I’ve always dreamed about. Amazing!

  8. This recipe looks amazing!
    I’m planning on making it for my brother’s birthday, and I have one question: if I’m halving the recipe and baking it in an 8×8 pan (as you told the other commenter to do), how long should I bake it for? Does it still need the full 45-55 minutes, or should I start checking it at an earlier time?