CASA GRANDE -- In our house, we’ve been missing our favorite local pizza restaurant and its signature dessert, pizookie, a gooey chocolate chip cookie baked in a skillet and topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Like other restaurants, our favorite pizza restaurant has its dining room closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and pizookie is one of those desserts that’s best when eaten fresh out of the oven with the ice cream melting on top.

We’ve missed pizookie so much, we decided to make it ourselves. It’s super easy — really just a regular chocolate chip cookie dough baked in a skillet. We top the cookie with our own homemade chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.

The secret to making pizookie is in the cast iron skillet.

There are a few different methods to making pizookie. Some melt the butter and the sugars in the cast iron skillet on top of the stove before mixing in the flour and chocolate chips, then baking.

The easiest way, however, is to simply make a basic chocolate chip cookie dough and place it in the skillet to bake. Your favorite store-bought cookie dough could also be used.

Pizookie can be made in a small cake pan, as a giant chocolate chip cookie, but there’s something about the cast iron pan that gives the cookie a crispy on the outside yet gooey on the inside texture.

The best thing about pizookie is that it’s meant to be shared family-style, right out of the pan. No need for extra plates. Just make sure everyone has a fork or a spoon and easy access to the skillet.

When eating pizookie, everyone seems to have their preference for where to place the fork for the perfect first bite.

While some prefer the crispy exterior of the cookie, I suggest placing the fork in the center of the cookie where the maximum gooeyness meets the coolness of the melting ice cream and the silkiness of the chocolate and caramel syrups.

Pizookie

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup self-rising flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 6-8-inch cast iron skillet.

In medium-size mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars until well mixed. Add in egg and vanilla.

Add flour and salt and mix until completely combined.

Stir in chocolate and spread evenly into prepared skillet.

Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until edges are crispy and center is just set.

Top with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and caramel syrups.

Homemade chocolate syrup

We usually make a double batch of this and keep it in the refrigerator. I’ve been known to eat it straight out of the jar.

1½ cups water

1½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except the vanilla in a sauce pan and heat over low heat until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. This is great as a hot fudge syrup or may be refrigerated for later use.

Homemade caramel syrup

I ran across this recipe a few years ago. It’s another sauce I make in advance and keep in my refrigerator. The cream may be substituted for half-and-half or milk, but for ultimate creaminess, cream is the way to go.

1 packed cup brown sugar

½ cup cream

4 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine brown sugar, cream, butter and salt in a saucepan and heat on medium, whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue to stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Serve warm or cold.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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