Beet & Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

 Beet & Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

Beet & Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

I wasn't planning on baking anything. It's not something I do very often. The precise measurements, the mixing, the waiting, the shaping, the baking, the cooling, then, finally, the eating. I will smoke a brisket for 20 hours, but I have no patience for cookies most days. I don't understand it, but that's just how I am. It was a perfect storm, really. I was perusing local blog Dessert For Two when Sherrie, the mastermind behind With Food and Love asked me if I had any quintessentially St. Louis recipes that were also vegetarian. I started to brainstorm—what are the St. Louis dishes? Toasted ravioli. St. Louis-style pizza. The slinger. We love meat.

Then, as I hopped between Safari tabs, Dessert for Two inspired me. Gooey butter cake is vegetarian (remember that next time you see a fat vegetarian: all they're eating is baked goods and carrots)! I found my mom's recipe, then started thinking how can I make these even more "St. Louis"? I channeled my inner Sarah Osborn/Nate Hereford (the Niche crew) and decided that beets would be the key. They were just about the only thing in season when I made these. Plus, they're colorful and I love their flavor.

Don't be turned off by the use of beets, you baby. I'm not even sure how much I could taste them in the recipe—I mean, gooey butter cake isn't exactly known for its subtly. It's just baked sugar, basically. But with beets and lemon mixed in, it's healthier...right?

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Beet & lemon Gooey Butter cookies


Beet & Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

YIELD: 18-24 | ACTIVE: 20 MIN | INACTIVE: 2 HOURS 12 MIN | TOTAL: 2 HOURS 32 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS

1 box yellow cake mix
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp
1 egg, room temp
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 red beet
2 T lemon juice
zest from one lemon

METHOD

Beet-Lemon Puree

Preheat the oven to 450F. You can peel the beets and quarter them now, or wait until after they’re cooked. Your call. Wrap in foil and bake for 35-45, until tender enough to put a knife through. Remove beets and let cool. Blend the beets and lemon juice together, then strain into a bowl. Stir in the zest. Set aside.

Cookie Time

Combine the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until well mixed, then add vanilla, egg, and as much beet puree as you have (or as you’d like). I added just over two tablespoons. Mix well, then add the cake mix. Once combined, put cover the batter and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape the dough into ping pong sized balls, then roll in the powdered sugar and place on the tray. Bake for about 12 minutes—a few of my batches required more, a few less. Keep an eye on them. You want them to almost be underdone so they keep that airy, gooey texture.

Let cool, then consume.