Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brownies and Cream – My Lite Frozen Treats for Summertime Snacking from Cleo Coyle

The first time I heard the word Brookie, I thought it was slang for a resident of Brooklyn, New York. In fact, it’s a cross between a brownie and a cookie, and this Brookie is my favorite recipe for the summer. (I adapted it from another recipe--Cuppa Joe Mocha Drops--which I originally created to make use of my leftover coffee.)

This is a lighter version of that cookie. I replaced much of the butter with low-fat yogurt and canola oil. The chocolate flavor is delicious and the texture soft and brownie-like. They're wonderful eaten warm, just out of the oven, and remain one of my favorite coffee break snacks.

You can drop this batter into a bigger and thicker cookie, which will give you a "Brookie" that tastes like a brownie. 

You can drop the batter into smaller, thinner cookies, which are absolutely perfect for making tasty, little ice cream sandwiches. (As Sue mentioned in the comments, they're kind of a lighter, summertime version of a whoopie pie.)

On the ice cream sandwich making: I’ve used frozen yogurt, sorbet, and sherbet. Below, I’ll show you how I make "cheater" ice cream, which is even lower in fat and calories. It’s also economical. To wit... 

The price of low-fat frozen desserts has been going through the roof--unlike shares of Facebook stock, lol. Actually, I'm not kidding here. In NYC these days, a box of Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches goes for around seven dollars (for six sandwiches, yikes!). So while my homemade frozen treats are low in fat and fun to make, they’re also much easier on ye olde budget. Another very good reason to…

Cleo Coyle, Brookie baker,
is author of The Coffeehouse

Eat with joy! 
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle’s
"Brookies" & Cream
Lite Frozen Sandwich Treats

To download a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Makes about 24 large Brookies or 48 small


5 tablespoons butter, melted 
1/3 cup oil (I use canola) 
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or coarse sea salt 
3/4 cup light brown sugar 
1/2 cup white, granulated sugar 
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (do not use nonfat) 
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*To make this recipe even healthier, replace half of the all-purpose flour with "white whole wheat" flour.


Step 1 – First preheat your oven to 350° F. Next melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir the oil into this and set aside to cool. 

Step 2 – One bowl mixing method: Sift together flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Now add in your two sugars, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Finally add the cooled melted butter and oil mixture. With a spoon or rubber spatula, mix by hand until flour is completely incorporated into a thick batter. Now stir about 50 strokes to blend well. Do not over-mix, however, or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your Brookies will be tough instead of tender.

Step 3 – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Batter will be thicker than cake batter but thinner than cookie dough. Drop in small mounds with a few inches of space between. Use a tablespoon for large Brookies, a teaspoon for smaller ones. Using the back of the spoon, lightly swirl the mounds into even, level, flattish circles. Bake smaller Brookies for about 8 minutes, larger ones for about 10. Remove from oven. I like to slide the entire strip of parchment paper onto the wire rack--this saves time and avoids disturbing the shape of the Brookies by moving one at a time with a spatula. Serve warm or chill and sandwich together with ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or sherbet.

CHEATER ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: For a tasty, very low calorie and low fat alternative to ice cream, use whipped cream or Cool Whip (low-fat, vanilla, or chocolate). See my photos below, which will show you how I use Reddi-wip whipped cream to make my chilly cheater treats.


(A) Line the plate:
When making Brookies into ice cream sandwiches, be sure to cover your plate with wax paper or plastic wrap before placing in the freezer or the bottom half may stick to the plate. I place small pieces of plastic wrap down on the plate, fill each sandwich, wrap each one up separately, and store them in the freezer to be eaten over the course of the week, during my coffee breaks. 

(B) Cover lightly: When using whipped cream, be sure place the top Brookie on very gently(C) Allow time to freeze: The whipped cream will freeze after two to three hours.

Prefer a richer buttercream
or whoopie pie marshmallow filling? 
For a richer dessert, put two Brookies together with a vanilla buttercream or chocolate frosting filling. For an easy, delicious Mocha Frosting Filling recipe, download my Cuppa Joe Mocha Drops recipe, which includes directions for this tasty chocolate-coffee frosting. Get the PDF by clicking here.

For a classic Whoopie Pie filling recipe, check out my reply to Sue in the comments after this post, where I posted a traditional filling recipe that uses marshmallow creme. Enjoy!

F O O D I E 


When making my "cheater" ice cream sandwiches

with either whipped cream or Cool Whip,
be sure to place the tops on very gently!

If using whipped cream in a can, you'll need to double dose
the cream after about an hour in the freezer. Here's why:
After the initial hit, the air in the cream deflates.
But no worries. The double dosing really does the trick.

See the results in the last photo below.

Enjoy Your
Memorial Day Weekend,

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse: CoffeehouseMystery.com

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.


  1. First of all I LOVE ALL of your books...both series. Second of all your "brookies" are called whoopie pies in the south. Yours sound so much lighter than the normal ones. I wish I had the recipe my granny used for the cream filling. It was delish. Thanks for the recipe. I'll have to make it soon for my girls.

    1. Sue - Aw, thanks for the biblio-love. I appreciate it. Whoopie pies are hugely popular in New England, not so much here in New York City--unless, of course, you're in the company of a transplanted New Englander. :) The origin, some say, was with the Amish in Pennsylvania, but these days they're clearly popular all over the USA.

      I think whoopie pies are a great fall and winter treat. For summertime (for me), they're a little too big and heavy, and the traditional filling is too high in fat and calories for me, as well. The basic filling recipe appears to be about the same across most kitchens. This one might be close to what your granny used:

      Whoopie Pie Filling (source - Food Network):

      1 1/2 cups shortening

      3 cups confectioners' sugar

      1 1/3 cups marshmallow topping (e.g. Fluff)

      Dash salt

      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

      1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

      In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all ingredients except the milk and beat well. Add just enough milk to achieve a creamy consistency.


      Thanks again, Sue, for stopping by--and for the kind words about my books. I hope you and your girls have a lovely Memorial Day weekend!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. MMMMM, yummm, bring on the summer treats! Your "Brookies" are just brilliant, and usual, your foodie pics are simply beautiful. I can just see these little gems filled with softened sugar-free ice cream, which would make them almost guilt-free for me (hey, I can deal with a LITTLE guilt and sugar, for something this yummy"!

    1. Laine - Always a pleasure to see you in the Kitchen. Thank you kindly for the nice words. I like your idea, and I hope everyone is able to use this recipe in their own way, too, creating fillings that work for them. (Certainly, if calories are not an issue, buttercream frosting would make a great sandwich cookie--I'll put a note in the recipe above on that.) But I agree with you. I enjoy creating different flavored fillings (chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurts, raspberry sorbet, sugar-free coffee ice cream), wrapping them up and storing them in the freezer to eat over time. Tasty, economical, and much lower in calories and fat that many other dessert options.

      Thanks again for dropping in, Laine. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. How delish! Your "Brookies" are right for "Bookies." (Readers LOL)


  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Connie! I wish I had a virtual button to share one with you. They're delicious, as I can attest. I'm enjoying one right now with my after lunch cup of coffee.

      Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!
      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Can you clarify please - is it a half teaspoon of salt? Somehow it dropped out of the ingredients list, and since it's the coarse version I'd like to be sure.

    nom nom nom

    1. Fixed! And you're spot on - 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (or coarse sea salt) is correct. Thank you so much for catching that!

      May you "nom" with joy! :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Cleo! Why was *my* first thought that I would put coffee ice cream in them? Yummmmmm! Gorgeous and I bet they're wonderful!

    ~ Krista

    1. You got it, Krista! Coffee ice cream filled Brookies for both of us. One condition: you'll have to trade me a plate of that pork tenderloin with raspberry sauce from your post yesterday. That baby was beautiful! :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. I just threw out some malingering candy canes that would be perfect to crush and fold into that whipped cream filling ... drat!