Friday, November 16, 2012

Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies

That time of year has to be in full swing, doesn't it? And that unfortunately means a reduction in my baking activities. Still, I can't resist sometimes. After all, we're supposed to indulge a little this time a year. Just a little.

Last year – right about this time of year, actually – my local grocery store had these red velvet cookies from the bakery. I am a sucker for pretty much anything red velvet. On the other hand, neither my mother nor I were willing to shell out $5 for a dozen cookies. I had since vowed to make my own and found several recipes – I just keep finding every other recipe that I need to try first.

A few months ago, my aunt made these cream cheese cake mix cookies. She went on and on about how easy they were. And they were good. Not just good, heavenly. Of course, I requested the recipe, and she happily obliged (Pretty much the same recipe found here). As it turns out, they were a variation of cake mix cookies. Hers were made with yellow cake mix and regular chocolate chips. My wild imagination thought of other ideas. The first thing I thought of was red velvet. Red velvet cake isn't red velvet without cream cheese icing. A red velvet cake mix with white chocolate chips would be perfect.

This week, it finally fell into place. Most of the munchies from Halloween and Birthday Season are gone, cream cheese was on sale, and there was a box of red velvet cake mix in the pantry from another meal deal. I had no more excuses.

It seems simple enough – a box of cake mix, a brick of cream cheese, half a stick of butter, an egg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a bag of chocolate chips. What could go wrong?

My suspicion is that not all cake mixes are created equal. This particular cake mix called for more water and less oil than the other boxes presently in my pantry. It got almost impossible to mix – or even knead – after I'd mixed in about 3/4 of the cake mix. Then the chocolate chips decided that they didn't want to stay in. There was a good handful in the bottom of the bowl. They also fell apart easily. I ended up having to make them about twice as big as I normally make cookies in order to get them to stay together. Nor did they look as nice as my aunt's version.

The one thing is that they did seem to cook more thoroughly. Hers got extremely after being left in a hot car. These seemed more cookie like.

The recipe, as follows:

Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies
Taken from my aunt, who got it from someone who got it from a website similar to this one
Makes 3-4 dozen

1 box cake mix. Any flavor
8 ounces cream cheese. Room temperature
1/4 cup butter. Room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 12-oz bag of chocolate chips or 2 cups mix-ins of choice – candy bits, dried fruit, nuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add egg and vanilla and mix well until blended
3. Stir in cake mix a little at a time then add mix-ins
4. Bake for 10 minutes, until edges are brown and enjoy.

So they weren't as easy as my aunt made it out to be and they aren't things of beauty. But they taste good. There's a perfect hint of cream cheese with that rich red velvet flavor.

Some other ideas I've had:
Carrot cake mix with half raisins and half chopped nuts
Orange cake mix with dried cranberries
Strawberry cake mix with coconut

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, I'm going to try these again, using another cake mix.

That is, unless I find other recipes to try...

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