Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cookie Bowl Mayhem

My mind was blown when I was first introduced the dessert of all desserts...Pizookie. Ice cream over a half baked, yes! I had a friend decide to make pizookie bowls, as she had seen her daughter do, and let's just say it didn't work so well. The cookie dough went all over the pan instead of forming bowls. But, not willing to let good cookie dough go to waste, we just plopped the ice cream on top and scraped bites off with a spoon. It still tasted heavenly. Since then I have seen many disasters and many successes with the idea of a pizookie bowl as people find there's more to it than just glopping some cookie down on an upside down pan. Along with many of us, Tessa discovered this the hard way.

The Original Pin: 
Now, I don't know why this recipe is called Sugar Cookie Bowls and they show Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls...but I'll address that later.

Anyway, this looks pretty easy. Put cookie dough over pan, put in oven, pull out perfect cookie bowls. Tessa set out one night to put these scrumptious bowls together for her husband. She says, "I whipped up the batter in no time and even made a cake to go along with our cookie bowl treats. I thought I'd get creative and make a cake bowl too, just for good measure. As my cookie and cake bowls baked I thought about what could possibly go inside them, as we're still a pretty low carb family (obviously). I made some Jello pudding (sugar free, very low carb!) and got so excited when I found chocolate chips to go on top. Oh how delighted my husband will be to come home to a pudding filled cookie bowl with chocolate chips. What a great wife I am... "

The Pinstrosity: 
Well...things didn't turn out quite as expected. This is about how the pan looked the first time I had these too. The only thing to do now is to just dump the ice cream (or pudding) on top and eat it anyway.

After reading Tessa's email and looking at the original pin, I had my theories about what went wrong and how to make a Pin win out of this, but I wanted to do some tests first. I whipped up the Sugar Cookie recipe given on the site, following their directions exactly. I wasn't sure how it'd turn out so I decided to start by just baking one. I put it on the cupcake pan (I don't have one of the fancy cookie bowl pans, so I just used my cupcake pan) and pressed the dough snugly over the upturned cup, and put it in the oven. It worked okay-ish. I shouldn't have smooshed the dough down over the it cooked it tore and left gaping holes. So I quickly ate that one and decided to try again, this time just gently draping the dough circle over the cup, letting it fall however it did naturally. This time...success! The cookie cup was perfect. I quickly gobbled that one too, then realized I needed pictures. Oops. So on to the next tests. The recipe given on the site was for Sugar Cookies, but the picture shows what appears to be chocolate chip cookies. So I decided to try adding chocolate chips to the dough to see how it worked. I couldn't roll the dough as thin as the recipe called for, but it was close-ish. I then also wanted to see how these cookie bowls worked with silicone shaped pans. So I pulled out my new spring pan and put the dough circle over the bee shape and threw both pans in the oven. Here's what I got:

 It doesn't look like a bee from the top...and it tore a little, but not badly. And then when I dropped it on it's head while turning it over I had a near decapitation. So don't drop your cookie bowls. But the bowl does look more like a bee from the bottom of the cup.

And then this is how my chocolate chip bowl turned out. My only boo-boo there is one of the chips slid while cooking making a small hole, but that was it. I'd definitely say Pin Win!

So now that I was done testing and done reading various website postings about cookie cups, here's what I learned:

What Went Wrong?
  • A lot of people just assume you can put any cookie dough or batter on an upturned pan and it'll come out right. As many of us have learned, that's not quite the case. All doughs and batters expand, but some do so differently than others. Generally, Chocolate Chip Cookie dough is very sticky, it expands and spreads a lot when cooking, and it's quite greasy. Sugar Cookies on the other hand are usually less sticky, less greasy, and they more or less keep their shape.
  • The amount of cookie dough placed on the pan makes a difference too. I know my first thought would have been "I want a good thick bowl, I'll put a lot of dough." Well, that doesn't really work. All the extra dough just "melts" and slides off and goes all around the pan. Here the old adage "Less is More" really rings true. 

How to fix this and get a Pin Win:
  • Choose your dough wisely. If you can roll the dough with a rolling pin (and not have all the dough stick to the counter and the pin), it'll probably work. Cookie recipes where the instructions say to "drop by rounded teaspoons" generally won't work, the dough is too soft and will melt all over your pan. You can try adding extra flour to the sticky doughs, but be careful there as too much flour will make your cookie taste...floury. 
  • Limit the amount of dough you place on the pan. This recipe said to roll the dough out to 1/8" thickness. That seems really thin, but it lets the dough cook thoroughly all the way through at the same time so there was no running. 
  • If you want chocolate chips in the sugar cookie recipe, you either have to roll the dough a little bit thicker (mine was about 1/4" thick) or you need to use mini chocolate chips (and then you'd be able to roll the dough more thin). 
  • Let the bowls cool for at least 5 minutes before trying to get them off the pan. Once they had cooled some, I slid a paring knife under the bottom edge and gently lifted up. The bowls came right off the pan, no problem. Other things that helped make the bowls easy to get off the pan was spraying the pan with cooking spray before cooking, and then the dough was fairly well floured from rolling it out. 
So go forth and conquer the cookie bowl world...and if you end up with cookie smears instead, just laugh and dump the ice cream right on top. No sense in wasting a good cookie. 



  1. Haha, I had no idea how to perfect it! Thank you!

  2. I've seen a lot of these fail. Thanks for the tips to prevent them from turning into one big running cookie mess.

  3. Another thought that could be tested is if you have 2 of the same kind of pan, you could put the dough on the bottom pan, grease the second and stack it on the other. Perhaps that would also enhance the shape of the bowl. You could do this either right-side up or upside-down. This is just a guess and I have no idea if it would work but it'd be an interesting experiment. Of course, the dough style would still matter.

  4. Also if you will notice the pan from the original was made specificly for making cookie bowls and is not a muffin pan turned upside down.

  5. I ended up causing a fire in the bottom of my stove from all the dough dropping to the bottom. No harm done,LOL,it could have though. So make sure you check on them often.

  6. Actually, cookie consistency has a lot more to do with how cold the batter (aka, the butter) is when you cook it. Watch Alton Brown's "Good Eats" episode where he makes chocolate chip cookies; or "how he explains everything that ever went different using the same ingredients." It's fascinating!! I have made these, but only with very cold cookie batter. They do turn out better. Sorry it went wrong for you that time.
    Oh and I sued upside down muffin tins as well. The only ones I can't use are obviously, the silicone ones because they would collapse, but you might have guessed that :)

  7. Oh, and I used parchment paper for getting them off. It does distort the inside if you aren't careful and make it super flat against the tin, but it gets it off in a breeze. After reading your fix comments, since you are rolling them it probably means the dough is cold, which is would fix your issue.

  8. Well I wished I had seen this about an hour ago! LOL Thanks for the time will be I have cookie crumbles for OVER the ice cream instead of a cookie bowl for UNDER the ice cream! Beth

  9. If your recipe calls for all butter you should substitute half the amount with butter flavored shortening (crisco) and that should keep the dough from spreading. Make sure the dough is well chilled before rolling too.

  10. Glad I found your blog! Will read your posts about Pinterest projects with great interest as there is so much "reality" missing from that channel. :)

    Made these sugar cookie bowls for the first time yesterday and, I think I got lucky, they turned our perfect. I used the Wilton recipe except that I cut the recipe in half (half recipe makes about 30 mini sugar cookie bowls) and I substituted egg white for the whole egg. I pre-scooped my dough into balls to make it easier to roll out and chilled the dough-balls overnight before rolling them out and shaping them over the mini-muffin cups. They did not "brown", which was fine with me - they are crispy, chewy and the perfect vehicle for mini scoops of super-creamy homemade fresh roasted coffee ice cream with homegrown hazelnuts.


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