Tuesday, February 28, 2012

cookie love.

life is filled with little windstorms and currents.
my son is home from college for a short two week break. 
it is flying by at the speed of sound, 
or so it feels. 
he and his younger sister are having a love-in. 
his younger sister on the precipice of being 15, are taking advantage of their combined power. 
they want me to turn the oven on and bake. 
not usually a problem, yet i am more inclined to think a little about who is really gonna eat what i make. 
uh, that would be me. 
still it is really nice to have an audience for my foodie skills again. 

so with all the ridiculousness that got me baking for crowds originally, i pulled out a fresh recipe. 
one that was not tested by my crowd yet. 
i made these cookies last night. 
and i think they were very well received. 
there is one real downside to them, according to my palate. 
i shall reserve that comment for last though. 

the recipe is undeniably one of the easiest ones to prepare i have run across. 
here goes...

chocolate chip cream cheese box cake cookies
preheat oven to 375 F

1 cake mix... the kind from a box. any flavor, i used yellow cake.
these are on sale at the market so often for around a dollar, that they are worth having in the pantry. my kids like to make them... too bad they are unwilling to make real cakes. still, it is worth the price of not measuring ingredients for nearly immediate gratification. 
8 oz. cream cheese.  the bar kind. in a box, and a silver foil wrapper.  let sit at room temperature.
1/4 c. butter. half a stick for those of you who do not think in butter increments in your sleep. margerine will work too, should that be your preference. also  let sit at room temperature.
1 large egg
1Tbl. real vanilla. since i used a box cake, this is essential. you need real vanilla notes to offset that artificial vanilla flavor. and if you are an accomplished baker/eater, you will need that extra influx of vanilla. 
1 c. of any kind of add-ins... such as raisins or nuts.  i held back, due to the pickiness of my eaters.
12 oz. chocolate chips. in my mind, nestle toll house chips are the way to go. for familiarity if nothing else. 

1. cream together butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. scrape down sides, to get everything mixed completely. 
2. add egg and vanilla. 
3. add cake mix slowly to wet ingredients... only until it starts to come together.  complete mixing will surely make these tougher than you might enjoy. 
4. any nuts or raisins or other add-ins can be added now. as well as the essential chocolate chips. 
i like to do this part by hand, so that the toughness factor is minimized. 
5. using a small scoop or two spoons, place mounds of cookie batter onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  i like to start the baking on the bottom oven shelf, and halfway through, turn the pans and relocate to upper shelf in oven.
these are considered done when they are just browning around the edges. 
6. let cool on pans for a couple of minutes if you can wait that long. 

*the entire prep for this recipe takes around 5 minutes... which is due to the lack of measuring  dry ingredients and need for extra speed. you need to eat these as soon as humanly possible. 
*i also used the yellow cake mix, which is for all purposes, vanilla cake. the makers of the mix use artificial vanilla which is not to my taste, so be ready for this if it that sort of thing bothers you. 
* finally, the cookies do not change shape from when the batter is on the pan. if you want a flatter, more conventional cookie shape, then flatten these down a smidge.  also, i am thinking of making them again with a chocolate box cake  and a little water. i like when there is that more conventional flattening of the cookie which is a byproduct of the baking phase. 

all things considered, these were well received. the recipe gave me an idea about what i could do to my regular chocolate chip recipe ... the venerable Toll House one on the back of the chip bag. 
also, we love rugelach here. since my table is constantly cluttered with mail and other family flotsam, i thought i might try to do a drop version of our beloved rugelach cookies based loosely on this recipe. i will keep you up to date with progress on these experiments. 

this feels like it worked out well enough to try again. i think i may make my own master mix  sometime to take the place of a boxed cake. this is where you take flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt pre-mixed in conventional proportions(like homemade bisquick).  having all these dry ingredients ready in one place, without needing to measure, makes this unbelievably fast to make and generally pretty tasty. 

next, i am going to take on some other holiday cookies that i never got around to making ... 
my show season and my wacky sleep/creative schedule just did not allow for anything extra to be shoehorned in. 
surely you remember those insane postings?

hopefully, you will try these and let me know of your successes?
if not, i understand. 
for now on, these will be my choice for school bake sales. 
too easy to mess up. 
and quick to make. 



  1. wen, a tablespoon of vanilla?

    1. YEP... a tablespoon. i think it offsets the artificial flavor somewhat. also they are better the next day when everything settles in... and the cream cheese infuses the pastry.
      hey i need to follow you... where is that blog sis? i knew it was you... nobody else calls me wen. xoxox.w.