In my mind, I designated today as a cookie-baking day, so of course I started preparing the crab stuffed zucchini recipe I had been working on for days. Once I mixed the crab stuffing, and piled it into the zucchini boats, I stuck it in the refrigerator before baking it off in the oven. Then I switched gears and started working on some cookies, because in this crazy, mixed up world, cookies make everything seem a little better.
Purely Nuts Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies
These are my variation on Camilla Saulsbury's Cream Cheese Chocolate Softies. I have been making cream cheese cake mix cookies for over 40 years, using a recipe I found in a Betty Crocker cookbook. My favorite version has always been a chocolate chocolate chip, and in fact they are on my list for this holiday season's baking. But these cookies use a brownie mix, and less cream cheese, and it occurred to me that they would be the perfect base for an all-nut cookie, brownies and walnuts being BFFs and all that.
I love nuts; I love eating them, baking with them, cooking with them. Sadly, I really can't eat them anymore, as they are the one food absolutely guaranteed to get under my dentures and cause me immediate pain. It really sucks getting older. So I avoid including them in my baked goods these days, which is probably a disappointment to all the nut-lovers I bake for. To them, I dedicate this cookie, which is totally nuts. No dried fruit or chocolate chips or coconut to sully that special mouthful of soft cookie dough and crunchy nut. And because anything worth doing is worth overdoing, I included some of every nut in my considerable pantry: walnut, pecan, two types of almond, pistachio, peanut, filbert, Brazil nut, cashews, and even pine nuts. I can't believe I don't have any macadamia nuts in the house!
1 - 18.4 oz. package chocolate fudge brownie mix
4 oz. (half of an 8 oz. bar) cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 extra large egg
1 cup nuts, any number or combination
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This can be baked on ungreased cookie sheets but if you have silpat, use it.
In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese and the egg, using a wooden spoon to beat well so that the cream cheese breaks up. Add the melted butter and beat that in as well. Add the brownie mix, and use the wooden spoon and a rubber spatula to thoroughly moisten the dry ingredients. Finally, stir in the nuts, using the spatula to work them into the dough.
With a cookie scoop, place the dough on the cookie sheet, 12 cookies at a time. Bake for 13-17 minutes until done. Do not overbake (the silpat helps to avoid this). Remove the cookie sheet to a wire rack and wait 5 minutes before removing the cookies to another wire rack to cool completely.
Mocha Sanity Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies
Substitute a package of mocha fudge brownie mix for the chocolate fudge, and a cup of baking chips for the nuts (Sanity Cookies - get it? - no nuts). I used a combination made up of milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch chips.