One Saturday evening, I found myself tasked with bringing a dessert to a dinner party and had practically no time to prepare one. Since I’m a baker, I’m always happy to make the final bite for my friends, but this particular Saturday, I hadn’t made a plan; I hadn’t even gone to the supermarket. Instead of stopping on the way to the party for a store-bought solution, I tried to imagine something simple but still spectacular that I could whip up quickly.
As I rummaged through my cupboards, it came to me: a skillet cookie! It has all the benefits of a freshly baked cookie without the hassle of portioning dough, baking in batches, rotating pans, or cooling on racks. Enhanced with ingredients like nuts, coconut, cinnamon, cayenne, lime, or even a swirl of tahini, the cookie could become sublime, even more so when topped with ice cream.
To bake this treat, all you need is an 8-inch ovenproof skillet. Both stainless and cast-iron pans work well, though baking times may vary as cookies made in cast-iron pans bake more quickly (because cast iron retains heat better than stainless). The cookies can be sliced for serving or scooped, which is the way to go if you’re serving them very warm.
For that dinner party, I assembled a cookie dough in 10 minutes, spread it in my skillet, wrapped it up, and brought it with me, unbaked. After dinner, I popped the skillet in the oven, and as my friends and I sipped some more wine, the smell of caramelized sugar and melting chocolate filled the air. I brought out the hot cookie with its crisp, browned edges and delightfully gooey core. Then I heaped on some ice cream and fresh whipped cream. It looked so good we didn’t even bother with plates—just four friends with four spoons around one skillet, enjoying the coziest dessert we could have imagined. Mission accomplished.