Friday, December 26, 2014

Minty Choco Chip Cake Mix Cookies

My previous recipe (Choco Cranberry Sauce Cake Mix Cupcakes) used cake mix powder that I sifted white and chocolate flavors together, using half of the mixture. This recipe uses the other half of the powder. My cooky recipes are almost all about using cake mixes because of convenience. Using cake mix in cooky making is more complex than using refrigerated cooky dough, but easier than blending soft butter into cooky powder mix. Furthermore, cake mixes come in more varieties and provide more options for the imagination.

Winter time seems to bring out inclinations for something minty. Do something different than chocolate chip cookies—make the chips mint! One year, I found mint-green chips, which I haven't seen lately. This year, I ran across Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips, which have chocolate and mint-green stripes. Did not know until now that Tootsie owns Andes.

Note: Both Tootsie and Amazon offer up Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips, but their prices are WAY more expensive than the local supermarket price.

Besides using chips with varying mint strengths, have the dough flavors meet in the middle—half vanilla-ey and half chocolatey. If you'd rather not commit to buying one box each of white and chocolate mixes, buy a marble cake mix and mix the powders together. My recipe for Diff Kinda Choco-chip Cake Mix Cookies includes marble cake mix, chocolate chips, and coconut.

Onto the recipe details!

My pixstrip shows the following image areas:
  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients
  3. Combo pic:
    1. Mixed eggs and oil
    2. Mixture of eggs, oil, and cake mix
    3. Dough, with chips stirred in
  4. Raw dough in pan
  5. Baked cookies in pan
  6. Flipped cookies on a cooling rack
  7. Cooled cookies on a plate
  • Cooky pan(s)
  • Pastry blender
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon for measuring out cooky dough
  • Spatula for scraping dough onto pan
  • Cooky spatula to lift and transfer baked cookies (not shown—forgot for preprep pic)
  • Cooling rack for done cookies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 box chocolatey cake mix (I used half fudgy chocolate and half white.)
  • 5 oz mint chips (I used Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips.)
  • 5 oz chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the oil and eggs.
  3. Use the pastry blender to stir the cake mix powder into the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir the chips into the dough. (I might have saved a little energy if I had combined both kinds of chip together first.)
  5. Use a round tablespoon to scoop the dough. Shape to rounded, level, or concave height.
  6. Drop the spoon's dough onto the cooky sheet. (For slightly flatter cookies, slightly flatten the shaped dough rounds with the measuring cup.)
  7. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.
  8. Use the cooky spatula to lift and transfer the done cookies onto cooling rack.
The yield was 57 cookies, amounting to ~65 calories each. YMMV

Recipe Deviation Suggestions
If trying out this recipe, advanced deviations include the following modifications:
  • If you want to buy only one box of cake mix instead of two for making up half chocolatey and half white dough. buy marble cake mix and sift the powders together.
  • For more mintiness, use all mint chips instead of half mint and half chocolate chips. If you want to be really gutsy, you can add some mint extract into the wet ingredients before mixing the powders in.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Choco Cranberry Sauce Cake Mix Cupcakes

This simple recipe has three ingredients besides spray oil—a 14-oz can of jellied cranberry sauce, a box of chocolaty cake mix, and eggs. (Chocolate seems to go well with just about any red fruit.) For my cake mix, I sifted a boxful of white and chocolate flavors each, using half for these cupcakes and saving the other half for a different recipe. (Batter up for the next recipe article!)

I'd Googled high and low for cake and cooky recipes that use jellied cranberry sauce. All of them seemed to call for the lumpy-cranberry type sauce. I finally took a breath and decided to forge ahead with the can of sauce that greeted me every time for many …, uh, long time when I opened the cupboard. I revisited info about possible cake ingredients for substitutions, such as applesauce. The amount of applesauce and water volume called for was similar to the cranberry.

The jellied cranberry sauce was an unknown—jelly at room temperature. I decided to spoon it out into a small mixing bowl, break it up with a spoon, and microwave it in 30-second sessions, stirring between sessions. The warm sauce did not break up well until I pureed it with the mixer.

My pixstrip shows the following image areas:
  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients and spray oil
  3. Combo pic:
    1. Cranberry sauce out of the can and into small bowl, then pureed
    2. Mixed eggs in medium bowl
    3. Mixture of eggs and pureed cranberry sauce in the medium bowl
    4. Cake mix powder in largest bowl
    5. Mixture of the ingredients in the largest bowl
  4. Batter in the cupcake pans
  5. Baked cupcakes in the pans
  6. Cooled cupcakes on a cooling rack
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cup for eggs
  • Measuring cup(s) for dispensing batter
  • Spatula for scraping batter
  • Spoon for initial breaking up cranberry sauce (not shown—forgot for preprep pic)
  • Electric mixer
  • Cupcake pans
  • Cooling rack
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box chocolatey cake mix (I used half fudgy chocolate and half white.)
  • 1 14-oz can jellied cranberry sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Spray oil into the pan wells.
  3. Beat the eggs and set aside.
  4. Break up and microwave the cranberry sauce in 30-second sessions, the puree with mixer.
  5. Pour the mixed eggs into the warm, pureed cranberry sauce and mix well.
  6. Pour the egg-and-sauce mixture into the largest bowl that has the cake mix powder.
  7. At low speed, mix all the ingredients for two minutes, scraping the batter down with the spatula. Mixture will become thick, like scratch-cake batter.
  8. Scoop batter into the pan wells, each about 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for about 17-20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
  10. Remove the baked cupcakes onto the cooling rack.
  11. Frost if desired.
Post-Recipe Thoughts
As mentioned, the batter becomes very thick during mixing. In dispensing it, I was apprehensive about distributing the batter into the typical 24 cupcake wells. Well, the batter did not run over the sides during baking. Tasty and moist! (Hmm, color and bready texture made me think of sweetish pumpernickel). Calories amounted to about 105 each cupcake. If you frost as ready-to-spread frostings recommend, you'll add an extra 130 calories for each.

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