Junior Chef: Double Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies
My kids love to help out in the kitchen, and I love to encourage their participation. Not only does it nurture their creativity and keep them entertained, but cooking can also reinforce reading, math, and science! Helping to make meals at a young age can also foster a love of good food as well as an appreciation of the effort that goes into preparing a dish. And if it pushes them along so they're cooking on their own sooner rather than later, well that's the icing on the cake!
Despite our enthusiasm for family cooking, however, not all recipes are particularly kid-friendly. Many have simply too many ingredients, so the preparation becomes complicated and overly tedious. Others require too much measuring, or are so sensitive to the measuring that one overflowing tablespoon can spoil the dish. And still others we've looked at are so precise that they become difficult to customize, one of the best parts of cooking!
Double Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies, however, fit the bill perfectly. They're simple - only 5 basic ingredients - and except for help with cracking eggs and taking the hot cookie sheets from the oven, my two boys (7 & 10) can make these themselves. The recipe is fairly resilient to over-measuring, too, although I always have them measure out ingredients over a second bowl, just in case. They love embellishing the basic recipe and have come up with a number of fun variations (see below).
And the price is right, too. The average cost for 2 dozen soft, yummy homemade cookies comes out to about $2.50 or so, less if I can pick up the ingredients on sale. I think these hold their own against any bakery cookie, and at less than half the cost.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix, try dark chocolate fudge cake mix to up the chocolatedy-ness
- 1 cup chocolate chips, any color, choose your favorite or even mix more than one color
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp milk, (optional, use only when the dough is too dry)
- If you're little helpers are measuring ingredients, have them work over a large, clean mixing bowl. That way, when spills invariably occur, the batter's not ruined and you can easily pour the excess back into its packaging.
- I love silicone baking mats for cookies! They eliminate the need to grease a cookie sheet and give a nice bottom to the cookies. Because you simply wash and re-use, they're also more cost-effective than parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Empty the powdered cake mix into a large mixing bowl.
- Add in the baking powder, then pour in the oil and eggs. Stir until well-blended. The dough should be like a thick brownie batter - if it seems too dry, add 1 Tbsp of milk.
- Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
- Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet, making each cookie into about a 1 inch ball. Leave a couple of inches between cookies.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until done. If you like your cookies a little crispier, add another 2 minutes.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes so the cookies set up, then transfer to a wire rack. The chips will be HOT, so let them cool completely before eating.
- Mintastic - Instead of chocolate chips, chop up Andes candies into chip-size pieces (or use mint or mint-chocolate chips). You can also crush peppermints in a a zip bag using a rolling pin and sprinkle them on top of the cookies just after they're out of the oven.
- Mocha-licious - If you love the coffee-chocolate combo, mix 1 Tbsp of instant decaffeinated coffee in with the dry ingredients.
- Caramal Poppers - Replace the chocolate chips with the same quantity of mini Rolos. Make sure to cool completely before eating as the caramel can get very hot.
- Candy Overload - Prepare the cookie batter and bake per the instructions. Just after the cookies are out of the oven and still soft, place mini M&Ms on top and gently press in with a rubber spatula.
- Tollhouse - Substitute a golden or butter cake mix for the chocolate to get a more traditional chocolate chip style cookie.
|Serving size: 1 cookie (about 33 g)|
|Calories from Fat||81|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 9 g||14%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Location of the Original Toll House Inn
While not authentically Toll House, I love these made with butter cake mix (see Variations, above).
Ruth - who received a lifetime supply of chips from Nestlé - died in 1977, and the sadly, the Inn burned down seven years later. It was never rebuilt, but a marker commemorates its former location.