One of our favorite restaurants to get really good BBQ is here in Parker at a restaurant called Hickory House. I don't think it's a chain restaurant - as far as I know they only have locations here and in Aspen. This is casual dining at its best, in my opinion! They serve the BBQ on a tin plate, and the silverware and napkins are just piled in a basket at the end of the table. The have some delicious combination plates of a half rack of ribs with sausage, tenderloin steak, chicken, brisket, pork, fried catfish, etc, and all the usual sides of coleslaw, baked beans and Texas toast. And the portions are pretty big, so we always have some leftovers for the next day.
Last week, we tried some Cayenne Hot Sauce on onion rings and let me tell you... Siracha is going to have to take a back seat for a while. They sell the hot sauce, but I might see if I can come up with my own recipe. But I'm getting off topic, and this isn't a restaurant review, so back to the skillet cookie...
On their menu, they have a Skillet Cookie, which you have to order at the start of your meal if you want it. We've never ordered it, and I've never seen it served to anyone, but I've always been curious about it. The menu says it comes topped with four scoops of ice cream, hot fudge and a cherry, so it sounds like something best shared between 5 or 6 friends. But it got me thinking about baking cookie bars, basically one giant cookie, in a skillet.
So that night, I whipped up a small batch of chocolate chip pecan cookie batter and made one big cookie in our enameled cast iron skillet. Baking a cookie this way gives you such nice chewy edges and a really soft center. Top it with ice cream and you have a heavenly dessert! I'm sure this skillet cookie would be more impressive actually served in the skillet, topped with ice cream, hot fudge, nuts and a cherry, but without friends over to eat it with us (who don't mind all eating out of one dish), it would have ended up going to waste, so instead we cut it into bars and made sundaes in bowls.
This would be a really fun family dessert to place in the middle of the table, since everyone would get to eat right out of the skillet--I have a feeling my nieces would love this one!
Chewy, Chocolatey Pecan Skillet Cookie
- 1/2 cup (scant) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (scant) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 375. Place a non-stick or enameled cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat while you make the cookie batter. (I'm not sure if this would work with a porous cast-iron skillet, but you could try it.)
Beat both sugars and the butter on medium speed until creamy and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat for an additional two minutes. (Why cream cheese? Because it was in the fridge and needed to be used. It added a really nice flavor to the cookies.) Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add by spoonfuls to the batter, mixing on low speed, until all the flour mixture is incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans with a wooden spoon.
Take the hot skillet out of the oven, spray with non-stick spray, and spread the cookie batter into the skillet. There's no need to try to get it perfect; the batter will spread out evenly as it bakes.
Bake the cookie for 18-20 minutes. The top should be golden brown, the edges firm and the center set. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve in the skillet, if you like, topped with ice cream and your favorite ice cream toppings. Or cut into bars and serve individual cookie sundaes.
We topped ours with mint chocolate chip ice cream, sliced strawberries and caramel sauce - an odd combination, I know, but it's all we had for toppings, and it was delicious! :)