Gooey butter cookies are a playful take on the St. Louis-style gooey butter cake, a Depression-era mistake turned regional specialty. We made the sturdy cake, known for its signature pudding-like top layer, infinitely easier by starting with a box of yellow cake mix. This is the easy treat to make if you're craving a richly flavored cookie with a soft and chewy bite.
For a Tender Cookie, Sift the Dry Ingredients First
A box of yellow cake mix makes these cookies quick and easy, but one simple step elevates them from just a supermarket shortcut. The trick to making them taste like homemade is sifting the dry cake mix through a fine-mesh strainer before mixing the dough. Why? In addition to flour and flavoring, commercial cake mixes contain leavening (that's the baking powder and baking soda), sugar, and fat, which can settle into lumps. Sifting the cake mix ensures it incorporates evenly.
How to Make Gooey Butter Cake Mix Cookies
To make this dessert, mix the sifted yellow cake mix with oil, eggs, and cream cheese. The cream cheese (and a watchful eye on the oven) gives these buttery cookies their sought-after ooey-gooey texture. Bake them until just set — they'll continue to firm up as they cool.
Gooey Butter Cookies
Makes about 2-dozen cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes ; cooking time: 10 minutes
1 (8-ounce) package
cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15.25-ounce) package
yellow cake mix
Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the eggs, cream cheese, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until combined. Use a fine-mesh strainer to sift the cake mix into the bowl. Stir by hand or use the hand mixer on low speed until all of the dry ingredients are moistened and a dough forms.
Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie, about 12 cookies per baking sheet.
Bake until the cookies are set and the edges are slightly browned, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and between racks halfway through, about 10 minutes total. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.