Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

SO CONFUSED.

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Is there such a thing as “normal”? No, right? And if there is, everyone has their own version of normal. So it’s not like every.single.person can fit into one person’s idea of normal. So while one person might have certain standards of normal, that cannot be said for everyone else on the planet because everyone’s normal is different. So no. There is no such thing as a universal “normal”. You picking up what I’m putting down?

I’m tired.

There are moments in my life that I’m not my normal or usual self. I mean, there are times, when out in public, that you need to “up your game” so to speak. When you are meeting with higher-ups at work. When you’re at a fancy-dancy restaurant. When you meet new people for the first time. When meeting with these certain people, it’s not the best time to start spewing your thoughts on why it’s impossible to find a decent cookie in New York City that is under $4, or that you just had the BEST Cacio e Pepe in your ENTIRE life this past weekend and you CANNOT deal. Nor can you burst into tears when you explain that you just finished binge-watching Sons of Anarchy and you are feeling EVERYTHING. OMGJAXWHAT. OMGWHATDIDIJUSTWATCH?! *tears* *breakdown*

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But there are times when my true neurotic self does make an appearance. It happens. For example, it’s impossible for me to *just* bake something. If I’m making something for the first time, and I bring it to work for people to try, or have my husband try it, I just can’t let them be. I’m all up in their face about it.

“How does it taste?!” “Do you like the texture?” “Are you getting all the flavors?” “Is there anything you would add/change?”  All while making creepy and constant eye contact with them.

I’m a gem.

I’m surprised they still eat the things I make knowing that they’re most like going to get bombarded with questions like they’re going on trial.

When I brought these cookies into work for people to try, this exact thing happened. Why? BECAUSE THESE ARE NOT NORMAL COOKIES. Regardless if there’s not a “universal” definition of normal or not. Because these cookies? They’re not. I don’t care.

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They’re cake mix cookies. Have you guys heard of these? You take regular boxed cake mix, mix in some oil and eggs, and instead of baking them as cakes, you make cookies. BOOM. Instant cookies. For this little adventure, I went with red velvet. Because, yes.

SO CONFUSED. These cookies. I can’t wrap my mind around them. When I made them and tried one  after they had cooled a bit, I was so thrown off. It was crispy on the edges and totally tasted like the edges of a freshly baked cake. You know what I mean, right? The slightly crispy edges that pull away from the cake pan once it’s baked? You know. And while it was light a slightly cake-y, it was also dense and chewy at the same time. I took a bite and just stood there staring at the rest of the cookie in my hand for about 5 minutes trying to process everything. My husband couldn’t quite get it either. I mean, they are physically cookies, but so different than when I make a chocolate chip cookie or any other type of cookie.

The flavor though? Spot on. I mean, obviously. They use cake batter. It really was like eating a slice of red velvet cake. And the white chocolate chips were the perfect sweet compliment. Plus I love how they look. It reminds me of cream cheese frosting you would find on a traditional cake.

But not normal.

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I brought them to work the next day and made people try them. I prefaced with the fact that these were different cookies than I normally make and if they don’t like them that could be why, blah blah blah. I don’t know why I can’t just let people enjoy cookies without a whole warning. Let people live, Deanna.

Everyone thought they were delicious and that there were no problems with them. When I kept asking “but aren’t they different?!?!!?” they kinda just looked at me, shrugged their shoulders and walked away. (It happens to me a lot.)

I decided to give them another shot and OMG the texture was different! The edges weren’t crispy, but everything was soft, dense, and chewy. I was pretty obsessed!! The same thing happens to cake too, though. Once it’s baked and stored in a container, everything settles and it becomes softer, more moist, and delicious. So it does make some sense.

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It’s literally a cake in a cookie form. There are aspects of both that, when combined, make the most not normal cookie I’ve had in a while. I think you guys should absolutely make these. While they’re so different, I think I’m kinda in love with them? They’re also the easiest things ever. Mix all the ingredients together, let it chill in the fridge (but just for a little bit!!), bake, and you have cookies. Take a night, make them, and let me what YOU think!! I need more opinions. And hello…do you see how thick they bake up?!

I don’t know why I’m freaking out about this, but I am. This is the life I have now. Where I sit and freak out over a cookie’s texture. Send help.

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Or just send more cookies.

***

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Recipe by: Just a Taste

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines. It was their 16.5oz box)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (I used a mix of vegetable oil and canola oil because I didn’t have enough vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips (you can totally use regular chocolate chips, but I love the contract of color with the white)

Directions:

  • Set oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or simply spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a bow of a stand mixer, or using a wooden spoon, mix together the cake mix, eggs, and oil until fully combined. Mix in white chocolate chips.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Once it’s time to bake the cookies, scoop cookie dough (about 2 tablespoons) onto the baking sheet. Bake anywhere between 10-13 minutes. I baked mine for 12 and thought the texture was perfect. They might still look soft when you take them out, but they’ll firm up as they cool.
  • Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container.

 

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Trail Mix Cookies

So umm..really winter?

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This is how it’s gonna be? Look, I understand that winter is supposed to be cold and snowy. But, I mean, REALLY?! Just stop. I can only take so much. I’m so over winter that I don’t even care if I don’t get another snow day from work. I’ll gladly work my usual 5 days a week if that means spring and warmer weather is coming. I’m throwing my white flag into the pile of white snow and forfeiting.

Oh, and take your “polar vortex” and shove it.

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These cold, snowy, wintry days have me looking forward to the warmer spring and summer weather. Where we all can all enjoy the outdoors and nature with long walks and hikes and truly embrace the end of winter. I actually am a big fan of hiking. I like that feeling of being connected with nature. I like how being surrounded by trees and hills and mountains can make me feel so small. I like being reminded that there is a big, big world out there. It’s very peaceful and I love taking a time out from my hectic life and just chilling out for a couple hours.

Being outdoors is also a great way to get exercise without the monotony of running on a treadmill. Seriously, I hate working out at a gym. My brand new gym membership? Poor thing. I’ve been paying each and every month, and barely (and I mean barely) use it. It’s just that I get so bored running on a treadmill. I literally can have a TV on while listening to my iPod and I still can’t fight my way through it. I’d much rather be walking outside. There are a lot more things to focus on than the mile counter on the treadmill.

And if I’m being completely honest, the people watching is great. It’s like my all-time favorite past-time. And, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m GREAT at it. Can I sometimes be borderline creepy with it? Sure. Sometimes. But I take pride in my creepiness. People are so fascinating!! 

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Anywho, while I do love enjoying nature and going on the occasional hike, the truth is, I don’t really hike very often. It’s hard to go on many hikes while living in a metropolitan area. But if the opportunity presents itself, I’m totally game.

But if we’re being completely honest here, another thing I really love about hiking is what people EAT while hiking. Because, as usual, it’s all about the food for me. Trail mix, granola, granola bars, dried fruits, nuts, and the occasional handful of chocolate. Some of my favorite snackies! I’d climb Mt. Everest if that meant I could munch on that the whole time.

And that’s exactly what these cookies are all about. All those great hiking snacks in one cookie! In this jam-packed cookie, we have oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, raisins, and chocolate. All wonderful energizing snacks that, will not only help give you the energy to push through your hike, but taste great in cookie form.

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I love the texture of these cookies. The chewyness from the oats, the crunch of the walnuts and sunflower seeds, as well as the softness of the raisins and dried cherries. Perfection. I love a chewy cookie, and while the are somewhat on the thin side (to me), don’t let that fool you. There is chewyness for DAYS. And the flavor combinations?! UGH. Delish. Sweet, salty, tart.

The one thing I would do differently next time? Chill the dough. I like chilling cookie dough because it keeps cookies from spreading out and keeps them nice and thick. Chilling the dough also lets the ingredients meld together, allowing the cookie to really develop its flavors. While this cookie was completely chewy, I would have preferred it a little thicker. So next time? I’m chilling the dough. I usually chill my cookie dough overnight, but if you’re in a rush, 1-2 hours will work as well.

I sent these cookies with my boyfriend for him to bring to work. By 11:00am they were all gone. I think that speaks for itself 🙂

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And while it may not be proper weather to go for a nice hike, you all still deserve these cookies. Because climbing these giant piles of snow is pretty much the same thing. It’s hiking. Winter style.

*****

TRAIL MIX COOKIES

(Recipe by: Annie’s Eats)

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; whisk to blend, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Blend in the egg.  Mix in the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
  6. Stir in the oats until evenly combined.
  7. Use a spatula to fold in the raisins, cherries, walnuts, chocolate and sunflower seeds, mixing just until evenly incorporated.
  8. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least a couple of inches apart.
  9. Bake  until golden brown and just set, about 10-12 minutes total.
  10. Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.