I say "Pizookie" in quotes not because my version was a cheap, sub-par imitation, but because if it didn't come from BJ's Brewhouse, it's not technically one of their someone-needs-a-medal creation. But heaven help me, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference in a blind taste test.
The actual word "pizookie" is so catchy that it took me until only recently to realize that it's a combination of "pizza" and "cookie'. Duh. But it's not just a pizza cookie because it's bigger and more perfectly round than a normal cookie.... No, no, no. Some genius up there in the BJ's R&D department came up with a beauty. They cook a phenomenal tasting cookie dough at a high temperature in a 6-inch diameter deep dish pizza pan with a little butter on the bottom that makes the bottom and sides ever so delicately crispy while the inner 4-inch diameter stays gooey, but nice and hot, which instantly starts melting the LARGE scoop of vanilla ice cream they plop on top. It's a simple dessert done to perfection, and anyone who's had one will swear by it.
Let me start by saying that this success story didn't come easily. As an amateur baker, I like to try new treats and experiments, and of course if you live under my same roof, you're subject to the tasting and forming of opinions about them. Ted and I have now been married three years, so that's three birthdays, three V-days, three sets of the Fat Holidays, and 156 weekends, most of which have sponsored some sort of concoction-making. Gee, and I wonder why my rump is lumpy.
When I do make something, especially if it's something new, I guess my need for accolades hinders honest opinions from the man. He's not one to emote effusive compliments if they're undeserved, and even if they are deserved, they're nearly impossible to eke out of him. He just doesn't moan in epicurean bliss, whereas I do it on a pretty regular basis. So I've had to learn to take anything above "It was good" as something that really blew his socks off (I have a translator in my brain, thankfully). For instance, when I made a turkey and rice soup from scratch the other day and he said, "This tastes just like my mom's", I about fell over and thanked my lucky stars (she's a great cook and I've witnessed him get wistful every now and then about certain meals and treats of hers).
There's the background to the next chain of events. We were on a walk a few weeks ago, and Ted was pushing the stroller. We had somehow gotten onto the topic of BJ's in general or Pizookies specifically, and either topic induces a wave of nostalgia for a chocoholic version of their Pizookie that I had about a year ago when a gaggle of girls from our freshman year at college got together for a weekend. I shared a Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Pizookie made with Ghirardelli chocolate and double chocolate ice cream with a square of dark Ghirardelli chocolate on the side with a friend at that meal. Neither of us can figure out why we shared. One bite and we almost ordered another one. So when Ted mentioned the word "Pizookie", he was speaking of the original and my brain had skipped right to the too-chocolate-for-words version. I replied with something like "Well, the original is good but that choc-" when I was EMPHATICALLY interrupted by my dearly beloved. He stopped the stroller mid-push, stuck his hand out in front of me and yelled, "Stop! You can't just stand there and say, 'the original is good.' You know it's way better than 'good'. It's freaking incredible, and I will not let you take another step until you acknowledge that."
I was blown away. In our three years of marriage, 5 months of engagement, 1 month of second-time dating, 6 months of friendship, 1 year of not talking at all, and 2 months of first-time dating, I have NEVER heard him speak so highly of a single dessert in such a tone. Yes, I wish it had been about one of my desserts, but I loved the effusive outburst so much that I really didn't care.
So for his birthday last Thursday (tax day), it didn't take too much to come up with what I would make this time.
I was given the recipe for some of the BEST chocolate chip cookies I've had in my life, so instead of using store-bought tubes of pre-fabricated cookie dough, which I've known some people to do... (you know who you are), I took great care in making the best version I could. I have a 6-inch deep dish pan (what self-respecting amateur baker doesn't?), but I opted for the heart instead because despite his lack of food-induced moans, I love my birthday boy very much.
So you can use any good recipe of cookie dough you want (or cheat - it's not like I'm going to know), but preheat the oven to 425. It's not your typical 350, but this ain't your typical batch of cookies. The higher heat cooks the whole bottom, edges, and top of your pizza cookie and keeps the very middle in its highly desirable salmonella stage. Cooking times will vary with the size pan you use (I really don't recommend you go bigger than a 9-inch cake pan, but even that's pushing it. The heart pan is 7" at its widest point), so watch it. Mine cooked about 13-15 min if I remember correctly. Should look like this:
Notice it looks completely cooked (I just typed "cookied" and I'm drooling). You don't want to take it out before the top looks done like that lest you have just a raw liquid-type thing you have to drink with a straw. Wait. Hmm.. next experiment?
WHILE STILL HOT OUT OF THE OVEN, plop a hefty amount of quality vanilla ice cream on top (pictured is Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean) so the contact heat starts melting it into pure sweet cream that creates rivers of pleasure all through your little hills and valleys of dough and chocolate. Eat immediately. DO NOT let this thing cool down, DO NOT be scared to blow on your first few bites of it, and DO NOT ever reveal to your cardiologist the real reason for your skyrocketing cholesterol. Blame it on genetics.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I almost needed an oven mitt to remove the pan off the table. That's how warm it still was...
Oh, what bliss. Happy Pizookie Birthday, sweetie. I hold your food orgasms in my heart.