Flour and Flowers | A Kitchen and Garden Blog

Gooey Cinnamon Squares – Smitten Kitchen

It’s another Smitten Kitchen post!  Huzzah! It’s been a weird year, so I haven’t gotten to nearly as many of my planned recipes as I had intended, but I think I’m headed back into it.  Honestly, though, I made these months ago and just never got around to sharing them with you.

The name is really fitting on these – they are the gooeyest things I think I’ve ever baked.  And since I spent several years inventing my own recipe-less cooking projects, that’s saying something.  They don’t look that gooey in the pictures, but trust me – it’s alllll goo.

The other thing about this recipe is that she really means it when she tells you to cut these into one-inch squares.  My first round was about two-inch squares, and it was a serious challenge to eat a whole square.  When I took the leftovers into work, I cut them down to one-inchers and they were much more manageable.  Believe me – you think you can comfortably eat a two-inch square of these because they look so good, but two bites in you’re wishing you could wait an hour or so before you eat the next two bites.

I will say that this recipe was a teensy bit hard to follow because the ingredients list was on two pages.  I know that’s a limitation of this specific book format, but it was hard to flip back and forth between the pages for the directions that went with the ingredients.  But the book is so pretty, and the recipes are so tasty, that frankly I don’t care.  Look – her pictures are much prettier than mine…  I have no idea how she cut her squares so perfectly, but I’m guessing it had something to do with actually waiting until they were cooled.  (And, you know, maybe experience.)

Look at all these innocent ingredients.  Don’t they look simple? Do you see that CUP of honey in the middle?  Yeah – there’s the gooey.

First layer starts off a bit like shortbread, but don’t let that fool you.  It’s much, much softer.  And, dare I say it, gooeyer?




Also, kinda hard to spread.  But not as hard as the second layer.  Soft and gooey on soft and gooey… Mmmmm…

Second layer, and now we’re in trouble.  Look at all that honey.  I’ve never put that much honey in something in my life.




Somehow it looks firmer than the first layer.  Believe me – it’s not.

Dollops of goo.

A mess of goo.

And cinnamon sugar.  Because how can you have gooey cinnamon squares without cinnamon sugar?  I think I could have doubled that part and it have been even more amazing.

Then bake and be patient.  Really, really patient.  Which is really hard, because it smells incredible, and once you pull it out to cool, you just want to take a big spoon to it.  Squares be damned.

Look at that goo coming through the cinnamon-sugar cracks!

Innocent looking “crust”.  Yeah, sure, it holds together.  But really it’s just an incredible, edible butter cake layer.

Two-inch squares.  Danger, Will Robinson!

~*~

Gooey Cinnamon Squares
Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

yield: about 7 dozen 1-inch squares (Yes, 7 dozen.  Seriously – cut them to 1-inch, not 2-inches. You won’t regret it.)

Ingredients:
Soft Cookie Base:

  • 8 tablespoons (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

Gooey Layer:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) light corn syrup, golden syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk, half & half, or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams or 1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup (115 grams) all-purpose flour

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9×13-inch cake pan with at least 2-inch sides with parchment paper and either butter the paper and sides of the pan or coat them with a nonstick spray.
  3. Set aside.

Cookie Base:

  1. Whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the 8 Tbsp butter with sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and milk, and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl and then beating for 10 seconds more.
  4. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Dollop cookie base over the bottom of the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer with a butter knife or offset spatula.
  6. Set pan aside.

Gooey Layer:

  1. Whisk liquid sweetener, milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for 10 seconds more.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour and mix, then 1/2 the vanilla mixture and mix.
  5. Repeat again, twice, until all of the flour has been mixed until just combined.
  6. Dollop over the cookie base and spread carefully with an offset spatula or butter knife.

Topping:

  1. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a tiny dish and sprinkle it over the entire gooey layer.
  2. It will be thick but it will come out of the oven almost like a creme brulee lid, i.e. awesomely.

To Bake and Serve:

  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cookies have bronzed on top. The gooey layer will rise and fall in the oven but will still be a bit liquidy under the cinnamon crust when the squares are done.
  2. Let cool completely on a rack, then cut into 1-inch squares.

Do ahead:  The squares keep at room temperature for at least a week.

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