gooey butter cookies

The Geneva Gourmand, (friend/founder of Moveable Feast) alerted me to this amazing cookie recipe. It's a riff on Gooey Butter Cake (hello St. Louis Friends!) which I'd read about it in my wanderings on the internet. Gooey, chewy, buttery, tangy and tasty. The goo and chew comes from not browning the cookie. The tang is from the cream cheese.

You also use vanilla beans, which never fail to make me smile—
the scent, the scrape, the flecks- all things of beauty.

After a 30-minute chill time and a quick roll in powdered sugar, they're ready for the oven.

Gooey Butter Cookies
recipe by Mathew Rice of Nightwood Restaurant

4½ cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1 pound cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter
½ vanilla bean, scraped
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for rolling and dusting

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Incorporate the flour mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Scoop roughly 1-ounce balls and toss in the confectioner’s sugar. Place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment, a couple of inches apart. Bake they spread and puff slightly, about 12-16 minutes. They will be really soft in the center. If they start to brown, they’ve gone too far. Cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate them on the tray because as the cream cheese and butter get cold, they’re easier to pick up. Dust with more confectioner’s sugar before serving. Mathew always serves these cookies straight out of the fridge. He thinks they don’t taste as good warm.

These will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

I halved the recipe and ended up with over 40 cookies, using a small cookie scoop (approximately 1½-inch diameter.)


  1. YUM! I want to try these, they look SO good.

  2. WOW!!!! That is a lot of sugar! They sound scrumptious and I love your description of vanilla beans!

  3. I bet these are delicious! I'm not really a sugar cookie girl (they don't have chocolate chips in them) but the cream cheese and the vanilla beans might just win me over!)

  4. I live in St. Louis, and so few people on the internet give us credit for introducing the world to Gooey Butter Cake. So I was so thrilled to see your shout out. Thank you.

    1. You are so welcome, Becky! The Gooey Butter Cake and its derivatives are certainly something you Saint Louisians should be proud of.

  5. Should I store them in an air tight container in the fridge?

    1. Choose an air tight container. Three days max- if they last that long. ;) (The refrigerator dries out cookies more quickly.)


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