Confession: I am not a Halloween person. The last time I was super into Halloween was maybbbeee my senior year of college, in which I was small enough to fit into a kiddie cow costume (hahahah, the days in which I am small enough to fit into kids’ clothing are long gone) and my British best friend dressed up as a bloodied butcher as part of a dark joke. We may or may not have gone to a bar named “The Pub at the End of the Universe” after a charmingly awkward Masquerade Ball at the Student Union — I genuinely don’t remember. All I know is that Halloween has been a disappointment since then; a messy whirlwind of expensive costumes that are neither sexy nor funny (because I’ve never been successful at being either), failed nights out when bouncers refused to let me into the door at Bootie SF (another long story for later), and trick-or-treaters failing to show up at my door despite me going hogwild at Costco and buying several bags of Haribo gummies, resulting in us still eating the leftovers months later.
Although I’ve sworn off handing out candy this year (and maybe all future years) after last year’s fiasco, I am finding myself sucked into the Halloween spirit here and there. I may or may not have tried to purchase all the limited edition Halloween-themed candies on this list (I mean, Sour Patch candy corn??? Dope.) and most definitely purchased a bag of Halloween-themed Oreos to binge on while I re-watch Love, Simon for the third time while crying hysterically in sweatpants. And then of course, there are these cookies: my brownie cookie (brookies, get it?!) recipe from yesteryear, studded with my favorite non-gummy Halloween candy, Reese’s Pieces, and monster googly eyes because they were on sale at my local supermarket. Enjoy!
- Candy googly eyes are available online; I used the Betty Crocker variety found at my local Safeway, but there are a bunch of fun ones available on Amazon (like these Wilton ones). For best results, it’s best to stick the eyes immediately after you pull the cookies out of the oven and place them (still on their trays) on a wire rack to cool, when the cookies are still soft and malleable. Placing them on the cookie dough balls before baking will cause them to melt.
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (between 60 to 65% cacao), roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (4.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 bag (15 ounces) Reese's Pieces candy
- candy googly eyes (see baker's notes for sources)
- Place 10 ounces dark chocolate in a double boiler pan (or, make a homemade one by placing a heatproof glass bowl on top of a saucepan filled with an inch of water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until fully melted, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir the chocolate and scrape from the sides of the bowl occasionally. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly when fully melted.
- While the chocolate is melting, prepare your oven and prep the other ingredients. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 6 tablespoons butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Once light and fluffy, scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer back on to its slowest setting. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, only adding the next egg when the previous one is fully incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer back on to its slowest setting. With the mixer on, slowly add the slightly cooled chocolate. Mix until just combined and the batter is a uniform, chocolate color. With the mixer still on its slowest speed, add the dry ingredients and continue mixing just until they disappear into the batter. With the mixer still on its slowest setting, add 90% of the Reese's Pieces, reserving a handful, mixing until just evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
- Let the dough rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before you start scooping out the cookies. The batter will be very soft at first, but will start firming up quickly as it sits, which makes it more difficult to portion. Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the dough out onto the prepared baking sheets, placing them about 2 inches apart. At this point, you should have around 22 cookie dough balls. Take two of the balls and squish them together, creating a giant cookie dough ball. Repeat with the remaining balls — you should end up with around 11 to 12 cookie dough balls. Press 2 to 3 of the remaining Reese's Pieces on top of each of the cookie dough balls. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are cracked all over their tops and softly set, between 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack; immediately press 2 to 3 candy eyes on each cookie, making sure not to press so hard that the candy falls through the cookie and breaks it — a gentle push will do. Allow the cookies to cool to room temperature completely before removing them from the sheet pans with a metal spatula.