If you're anything like me, you love baking homemade treats for your family but don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen ... especially if LOFT, Lucky, let's make that anyone is having a sale. So why not take a few shortcuts?
That's why I'm crazy about these chocolate-and-pecan masterpieces from Jill Snider's Complete Cake Mix Magic: 300 Easy Desserts Good as Homemade (Robert Rose Inc., September 2012, $24.95). Based on a cake mix, they're super simple to prepare.
Bob and I tried these enchanting cake mix cookies during our last trip to the Redneck Rivera. Normally, if we want something sweet while on vacation, I'll pick up the slice-and-bake variety. But Snider's delectable Chunky Chocolate Pecan Cookies are almost as quick and easy.
To make them, you need only six, basic ingredients: white cake mix, butter, eggs, vanilla, semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (bigger chocolate pieces have to spell better!), and Bob's favorite pecans. My only problem was finding the right size cake mix. Although the recipe calls for an 18.25-ounce box, I adopted an if-at-first-you-don't-succeed ...substitute policy and grabbed the next best thing: 16.5 ounces. I figured that was close enough if I cut back just a dab on the butter and vanilla. And, spoiler alert, I was right!
I whipped them up shortly after we returned from the grocery store. You just mix the cake mix, melted butter, eggs and vanilla for about a minute. Then stir in the chocolate and pecans, drop onto cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. I had them ready in time for lunch and many, oohs and ahhs from my dessert-infatuated husband.
These cookie-jar treasures may be short on ingredients but they're BIG on flavor. Everyone in the family will go for this explosion of chocolate and nutty goodness, never guessing how easy they are to make. Let's just keep that our little secret!
Preheat oven to 375°F and set out several baking sheets, greased
In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 1 minute or just until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute or until firm, then remove to wire racks and cool completely.
Variation: Vary the type of nuts and chocolate to suit your personal taste. Try macadamia nuts and white chocolate chunks.
Other Works: Best-selling cookbook author Jill Snider's top-rated collections include Bars & Squares: More than 200 Recipes, Cookies: More than 200 Recipes and Bake Something Great: More than 400 Bars, Squares and Cookies plus several other Cake Mix Magic titles.
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.
Penned: Sept. 30, 2012
What's Inside: More than 300 simple, cake mix-based shortcuts to creating delectable desserts. You can choose from single- or multi-layered classics (Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting), tube and Bundt sensations (Double Chocolate Coconut Rum Cake) and company-worthy cheesecakes (Dutch Apple Crumble Cheesecake) as well as kid-pleasin' muffins, cookies and bars (Lots of Lemon Squares) and more.
Relying on easy recipes and basic ingredients while requiring zero experience, this helpful primer makes baking sweets a breeze for both newbie and time-crunched, veteran cooks.
Time Out: 288 pages
Available: $24.95 at Amazon and most book retailers
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