Gooey Cinnamon Squares

February 2013 078I think everyone in Madison deserves a Gooey Cinnamon Square for enduring single digit temperatures at the end of March. This dessert is a cross between a Snickerdoodle cookie and St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. The combination is pure genius, and these gooey squares are guaranteed to warm your soul. They’re not at all healthy, but don’t you think you deserve a special treat? It’s been a long winter.

Gooey Cinnamon Squares (from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook; makes 7 dozen 1-inch squares)

Soft cookie base:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk

Gooey layer:
1/4 cup light corn syrup, golden syrup or honey
1/4 cup milk, half-and-half or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and coat the paper and sides of pan with butter.

Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, beat 8 tablespoons of butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and milk and beat until combined. Beat in the dry ingredients.

Spoon the cookie base into the pan and spread into an even layer. Set aside.

Whisk the corn syrup, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add 1/3 of the flour and beat, then 1/2 of the vanilla mixture and beat. Repeat twice until just combined. Spoon mixture over the cookie base into an even layer.

Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the gooey layer.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is bronzed like a creme brulee. Cool completely and then cut into 1-inch squares.

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