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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

August 18, 2009

Brownie Cookie Stargazer Pie

When I was planning my trip to Oregon back in early June, one of the things I was most anticipating was star gazing. I knew it would be a long shot to see anything while on the Oregon Coast, but I had a hunch that the city of Bend, surrounded by acres of U.S. Forest Service land, would be plenty dark enough to see the stars by the truckload. I just couldn't wait to lay outside in the balmy night air and gaze up at them.
A few days before I left on my trip I made this sweet concoction for a visiting coworker, Glenn. Since he lives in New Jersey and never gets to partake in any of the treats, I offered to make him something special the next time he was in Seattle. However I was so preoccupied with going on my trip (and the subsequent star gazing) that when I saw him one afternoon having just arrived airport, I was a little taken aback. His visit had completely slipped my mind!
Glen was only going to be in the office for one day so I had to get my act together and fast. To make matters worse, I had plans that evening and didn't have time either to look for a recipe or make anything elaborate. My only hope was to be inspired while shopping at the grocery store on my way home.

Once at the store I headed straight for the dairy case because I knew I needed milk. As I walked past the refrigerated cases on the way, I stopped abruptly in front of the pre-made cookie dough. Right then and there I got a flash of exactly what I wanted to make and promptly filled my shopping basket with everything I'd need. Phew!

As I stood in the checkout line, visualizing the finished dessert, I knew Glenn would love it. I could just see my coworkers smiling ear to ear as they took that first bite, closing their eyes out of sheer delight. And just as I predicted, it was a bit of a sensation. Everyone just loved it.
Glenn's Stargazer Pie
Yield:  10-12 servings

1 16.5 oz tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, softened

Brownie Layer
1 box of Betty Crocker Triple Chunk Brownie Mix (my preference)
1/2 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
3 tablespoons of lukewarm water
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of almond extract or vanilla if that's all you have

Cream Cheese Truffle Layer
1 cup of milk semisweet chips
4 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick of unsalted butter

Whipped Cream Layer
2 cups of whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (give or take) of chocolate curls or other garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 or 9 1/2 inch springform pan with butter.

Spread the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan, making one big even cookie. It will be a little on the thin side, but don't worry, there will be enough. Use a fork to tamp it down. Stick it in the freezer.

Mix the brownie mix and the cocoa powder together in big bowl with a whisk or large fork. Add the water, oil, eggs, and almond extract and mix together *just* until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Be careful not to over mix! The batter will be somewhat lumpy.

Remove the springform pan from the freezer and add the brownie batter right over the top. Bake for 34-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out *almost* clean -- just a few bits of brownie sticking to the toothpick is okay. You basically want it to where it's not raw in the center and doesn't jiggle when you shake the pan a bit. You want it just a tad bit less baked than you would a normal brownie.

Remove it from the oven and promptly sprinkle about a 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (from the 1 cup of chips listed above) over the top. Let it sit for a minute or two and once the chocolate chips are soft, evenly spread them over the top of brownie's surface. All it to cool on the counter.

While the pie is cooling, microwave the remaining chocolate chips on low power (2 or 3) on 30 second intervals until the chips are melted, stirring well each time. Set aside. Cream the butter, and cream cheese together for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and stir again. Add the melted chocolate, one big teaspoonful at a time until it's totally incorporated into the cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the pie and store it uncovered in the refrigerator for an hour.

About an hour or two before you're ready to serve the pie (or when it's totally cooled off), whisk the whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar and mix again until combined. Spread evenly over the top of the pie. Grate chocolate directly over the top (that's what I did in the photos), sprinkle chocolate curls, or embellish with chocolate sprinkles. Cover and put it back in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 an hour.

When you're ready to serve, run a thin knife or spatula to around the edge of the pan to free it from the outside ring. Gently remove the ring and serve let it come to room temperature at least a half an hour before serving. You'll know it's ready to serve when you're able to cut it from the center fairly easily.


  1. Oh, this looks so good!! Wish I had everything to make it right now! Guess I'll have to wait until the next get-together!

  2. This looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

  3. that looks really good--and easy! great recipe!

  4. This sounds dangerously delicious - thanks for the recipe - yum!

  5. I'll have to try that. Did you enjoy your time at the coast and Bend? Since I live in Portland we always go camping at the coast and Bend every summer. With our baby, we only made it to the coast once this summer. Oh well.

  6. That is amazing! I have to try this. Thank you for sharing this!!

  7. Wow. Sounds and looks incredible! Glad you needed milk that day. : )

  8. Yummy AND easy! And chocolate. Great combination!

  9. Ghirradelli makes a tasty prepared brownie mix...it's my preferred box. These sound fantastic!

  10. How could this be anything but delicious?? YUMMMMM!!

  11. Yummy, decadent, and easy!! What more could a person want??

  12. Wow you got all that just by seeing cookie dough! Thats awesome! Looks like it turned out great...and how easy to throw together!

  13. Oh My! Pure decadence! Lucky guy!

  14. You think quick on your feet girl, this is fantastic!!

  15. Slacker! Whaaat? Julia taking shortcuts?! Ha-ha! You know I'm just kidding and LOVE that you do take them when necessary. :)Makes me feel better when I do.

    Are you doing something different with your photos? They came out great! The one with the cookie dough in the pan is an awesome one!

  16. I'm stuck in an apartment without access to real cooking except an occasional "brush" with the oven upstairs. THANK YOU FOR THIS RECIPE.

    One question: they make that cookie dough in tubes of several different sizes. Could you tell me which sized tube you used? Just the generic one.. or the jumbo one? I think it's the "2 dozen" size tube.

  17. This looks fantastic! I've been a fan of yours for awhile, but just read that you're a WW girl too. I just started my own blog, Low in Fat, High in Flavor, where I'm putting up recipes with WW friendly ingredients. Stop by sometime!

  18. looks amazing, but i have a few questions about the recipe:

    - where do you use the 1/2 stick of butter?..is it just for greasing the pan?
    - how much sugar do you add to the cream cheese mixture?..i saw that there was a 1/4 cup of powdered sugar listed in the ingredients, but i understood that to be used for the whipped cream mixture.

    i can't wait to make this! :)

  19. Hi Everyone! I'm thrilled to see how excited everyone is about this little ditty -- it's pretty special!

    To the Vance's -- I did enjoy my time all around Oregon. It's just so pretty there and peaceful and lush and well, gorgeous. I didn't expect to like Bend as much as I did but it was perfect. Thanks for asking!

    Claudine --- I like the Ghirradelli mixes too but the store I was in didn't carry the brand. I'm sure it would work well in this recipe too. Please let me know if you try it with that mix and if you had good results.

    Marti - it's the smaller, 16.5 oz tube :) thanks for reminding me to fix that

    Allison - the butter is for the cream cheese layer and the powdered sugar goes in the whipped cream. There's no sugar in the cream cheese mixture because the sweetness comes from the chocolate. If you find that it's not sweet enough, I'd suggest adding 1 tablespoon and see if that helps.

  20. Oh that's a diet breaker if I'd ever seen one. Yum!!!!

  21. WOW! I think a little piece is all I could handle :) This looks incredible.

  22. thank you so much for answering my questions!..you cleared everything up, and the new divided recipe list is especially helpful, too!..now all i have to do is find a reason to make this and pawn it off on my friends :)..i'm sure they won't mind!..i made your butterfinger banana cake for a dinner we had last week and everyone went crazy over it..i'm sure this one will be just as delicious! :) -- thanks again!

  23. This is such an impressive looking dessert that used such accessible ingredients. Love that!

  24. If you don't have the mixes, you could always make these cookie dough and brownies from scratch. Most likely you already have flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and chocolate chips or chunks in your kitchen. I would love to make this with my favorite cookie and brownie recipes. Thanks!!

  25. Looks great, I'm definitely going to try this! I do have a question about the cream cheese layer, the directions say "Cream the butter, sugar, and cream cheese together for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and stir again." How much sugar and how much vanilla are we adding? The ingredients for the cream cheese layer don't mention it... Thanks, and sorry in advance if this is stated elsewhere :)

  26. This looks sinfully good. Yum!

  27. Wow, all those layers sound delicious together - yum!

  28. Kristy R from Longview, WAAugust 25, 2009

    I made this over the weekend and shared it at Game Night with friends. WOW! What a hit. Everyone loved it and it was so simple. Thanks.

  29. Yummmmm! This looks so good.

  30. I just made this with my tutoring student, who's eight. It was a perfect recipe for her because she loves to bake but (like a lot of eight year olds) she's not so good with the measuring and mixing and such, so the fact that so much of it was pre-made was great. It was one of the most decadent things I've ever eaten! I ate half a (large) slice at 4:30, haven't eaten anything since, and I'm still not hungry! Great recipe!

  31. I was very impressed by how this recipe turned out. Thank you Julia!

  32. I made this today for a dinner party, and man was it delicious! Thank you so much for an amazing recipe, everyone was so impressed (and asking for seconds)

  33. Can you skip the chocolate in the cream cheese and add sugar instead to have a badic cream cheese layer?


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