Kitchen Curious: Want a cookie? Grab a box of cake mix

With Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cake Mix Cookies, being stuck at home feels a whole lot better. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
With Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cake Mix Cookies, being stuck at home feels a whole lot better. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM

The stay-at-home order intended to help flatten the coronavirus curve may inadvertently result in some of us seeing our bellies get rounder. Exercise as we might, we’re still mostly at home, with ice cream, chips and salsa, and stashes of other snacks to occupy our time when we’re bored, anxious or annoyed.

Yes, there are other ways to let off steam or entertain ourselves during this time of social distancing, but, you know what? We deserve a cookie right now.

I was inspired to make this week’s recipe after having spotted a box of cake mix that had been in my pantry for months. My mother-in-law had bought it during an extended visit to Atlanta last year. She planned to make it for her deprived son whose wife never bakes him cakes.

It dawned on me that I had a recipe for cake mix cookies. It was given to me when I was 15 years old by an older lady who jump-started my recipe-clipping habit. Nancy Mueller passed away some years ago, but when we worked together at my first job, she’d often write down her favorite recipes for me. Many of them were cookies, her favorite thing to bake.

Nancy’s cake mix cookie recipe takes up an entire sheet of paper. She outlines the basic formula — 1 package dry cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup oil when using moist cake mix but 1/2 cup oil if using plain cake mix.

“We’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with the different cake mixes,” she writes in perfect penmanship. She lists numerous versions, including: Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix with 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil; Pillsbury Plus White Cake with 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, 1/2 cup chopped pecans and a few drops of red food coloring, if desired; and Betty Crocker Carrot Cake with 2 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, 1/3-1/2 cup raisins and cream cheese frosting.

I had walnuts and a chocolate bar, so that is the add-in combo I used. It just so happens that I baked the cookies the day that my husband celebrated his birthday. It wasn’t cake, but the birthday boy was more than happy to have two dozen sweet snacks to munch on when quarantine life with his wife is just too much.

You need just a few ingredients and a little time to make Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cake Mix Cookies. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
You need just a few ingredients and a little time to make Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cake Mix Cookies. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM

Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cake Mix Cookies

Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cake Mix Cookies
  • 1 box moist white cake mix
  • 1/3 cup oil (use 1/2 cup oil if using plain instead of moist cake mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (substitute with pecans) (see note)
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonful on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 10-11 minutes, until cookies begin to turn golden. Remove from oven. Let cool slightly and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
  • Note: Cake mixes offer plenty of opportunity for cookie experimentation. Add-ins can include nuts, dried fruit, maraschino cherries, decorating sprinkles and more.

Nutritional information

Per serving: (one cookie) 129 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 2 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 8 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium.

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