One of my favorite cookies of all time is a chocolate cake cookie my mom adapted from a tattered copy of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book from the 70s. She adds chocolate chips to the batter and tops them with standard American chocolate buttercream. I thought that base cookie would be an excellent vehicle for any chocolate cake turned cookie flavor combination, and the German chocolate cake is a classic. I added a bit more coconut than a cake recipe might use so the frosting sits stiffly on the cookies. I also chose salted nuts over plain to cut the sweetness slightly. Whether you go with my mom’s recipe or mine, have a tall, cold glass of milk on standby to wash them down.

Makes 36 to 40 cookies


Chocolate Cake Cookies

  • 11 tablespoons (156 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (162 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups (228 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (57 grams) cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ⅔ cup (160 grams) milk

Coconut Topping

  • ½ cup (108 grams) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks (56 grams)
  • 3/4 cup (189 grams) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125 grams) salted roasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups (200 grams) shredded sweetened coconut


Make the Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  1. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides down as needed.
  1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk until a thick batter forms.
  1. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, place mounds of batter on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them out about 2 inches. Bake for 10 minutes or until set. Allow to cool on racks before frosting.

Make the Frosting:

  1. In a medium saucepan add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, egg yolks and evaporated milk. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and can coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
  1. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the vanilla, nuts and coconut and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally.
  1. Use a small cookie scoop to place mounds of frosting on the tops of the cooled cookies. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


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AnnMarie Mattilahttps://pastryathome.com
AnnMarie Mattila is a writer for Pastry Arts Magazine, as well as a freelance baker and pastry chef in New York. She has a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University and is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education.

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