Circus Animal Cookie Pizookie

by Jillian
A warm and deliciously doughy base of sugar cookie, brimming with everyone’s favorite Circus Animal Cookies and pockets of vanilla buttercream frosting!

A warm and deliciously doughy base of sugar cookie, brimming with everyone’s favorite Circus Animal Cookies and pockets of vanilla buttercream frosting!

You have NO idea how much I’ve been longing to make one of these ever-so-popular Pizookies, AKA, Skillet Cookies. In case you’re not familiar with the Pizookie, it’s a hybrid between a pizza and a cookie. So it’s basically a big cookie that’s super warm and ooey gooey!

While I have made Cookie Pies on this blog, I’ve never made an authentic Pizookie because I didn’t have the heavy cast iron skillet it’s traditionally baked in. So when I FINALLY got my hands on a cast iron skillet last week, it was GAME ON!

With so many different flavors and options to choose from in the world of Pizookies, I’m sure you can imagine just how difficult it was for me to decide on the theme for my very first Pizookie. That is until I spotted a bag of Circus Animal Cookies in my pantry…

My friends, the baking Gods have spoken…

If you didn’t think it was possible to improve upon the already addictive Circus Animal Cookie, then you obviously haven’t had them baked into a massive, ultra thick and delectably doughy cookie.

I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me over 30 years to make one of these big daddies. It’s literally like biting into the freshest, most deliciously gooey cookie EVER. With its soft yet delicately crisp and toasty edges and its warm and lusciously doughy center, this Pizookie was baked to perfection.

And you’d be amazed at how easy it is to make something so heavenly! For one thing, you don’t have to mess with rolling/scooping a bunch of individual cookies since it’s all baked into one skillet. For the dough, I went with your basic sugar cookie recipe and added a hefty dose of chopped Circus Animal Cookies. What I love about the animal cookies is that they remain crisp after baking, adding a nice contrast to the super soft cookie base.

Since I just couldn’t help myself, I also added pockets of vanilla frosting throughout the cookie. Because, why not? I’ve seen Pizookies baked with caramel, chocolate, and all sorts of other candies, but when I think of Circus Animal Cookies, I think of creamy vanilla frosting.

To assure that the frosting didn’t just melt into the cookie dough while baking, I scooped out teaspoonfuls onto a plate and froze them for about 30 minutes until solid. When it was time to bake, I pressed half of the cookie dough into the skillet, then evenly spaced the frozen frosting dollops on top, and then pressed the remaining dough on top. To ensure that everything was covered, I took a portion of dough, flattened it between my palms, then laid it on top, piecing the dough together almost like a puzzle.

When it comes to Pizookies, the level of doneness may vary. In my opinion, the perfect Pizookie has soft-baked, slightly chewy outer edges and a mostly gooey, underbaked center. I took my Pizookie out of the oven at exactly 30 minutes. The perimeter should look golden, and the center should have that glossy, not quite baked look.

And for prettiness purposes, I gently pressed a few extra Circus Animal Cookies into the top of the Pizookie.

While most people like to dive right into their Pizookie straight out of the oven, I decided to wait about an hour before cutting into this bad boy. I wanted to give the pockets of frosting enough time to set up so that I didn’t end up with pools of liquified frosting.

The wait was WELL worth it because HOLY MACULY CULKIN, this Pizookie was ABSOLUTE perfection! From the warm doughiness of the sweet sugar cookie dough, the crunchy bits of Circus Animal Cookies and the rich pockets of vanilla frosting, I couldn’t have asked for a more blissful experience.

And of course, a Pizookie is not complete without the all-important scoop of ice cream on top. Plain vanilla ice cream is all fine and dandy, but for this Mona Lisa of a cookie, it deserved something better. Something like…Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream.

Now this is how a Pizookie is made…

A warm and deliciously doughy base of sugar cookie, brimming with everyone’s favorite Circus Animal Cookies and pockets of vanilla buttercream frosting!

Circus Animal Cookie Pizookie

A warm and deliciously doughy base of sugar cookie, brimming with everyone's favorite Circus Animal Cookies and pockets of vanilla buttercream frosting!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 32 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

Frosting:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Sugar Cookie Base:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extrac
  • 1 ½ cup Circus Animal Cookies plus more for topping

Instructions
 

Make the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt together until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and almond extract, followed by the powdered sugar, mixing until fluffy. Spoon teaspoon-sized dollops of the frosting onto a wax paper-lined plate. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Make the Cookie Base:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together until combined; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and almond extract, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  • Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in the animal cookies until evenly incorporated. Press half of the dough into the skillet. Place the frozen frosting dollops evenly over the dough. Cover with the remaining dough by pressing portions of dough between your palms, then piecing them together on top of the frosting dollops. Make sure all of the frosting is covered.
  • Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden and the center looks glossy and not quite done. Pizookie will continue to bake as it cools. Immediately press Circus Animal Cookies into the top  of the Pizookie. Wait at least 45 minutes before slicing into the cookie. Serve with ice cream, if desired.
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