Happy Endings

There's something to be said for having cookies on hand during the holidays. Unexpected guests arrive and you can put some out with coffee and creamer. You and your family are off on a trip to visit Grandma and a few tucked away in a bag save you from tantrums as you travel. You get back from a day of shopping and nibble one as you put together dinner ... thanks for taking the edge off.

But who has time for baking? You do!!!

This month's simple recipe takes advantage of a box of cake mix, a bit of butter and an egg. Then, there's the secret ingredient: flavored baking chips. While you can use everything from butterscotch to cinnamon chips, my two favorite varieties with dark chocolate are chocolate-mint and cherry.

For the holiday season, I make up one batch of each and freeze them by the dozen in resealable bags. Then, if I have company coming, I grab a bag of each and arrange them on a plate that's got a few mini-candy canes decorating it. Ta-da! Instant entertaining and it only took a few minutes.

Of course, you are not limited to dark chocolate cake mix and the flavored chips I chose. Mix and match to suit your needs. A nice combination to have with tea or chai is French vanilla cake mix and cinnamon chips. Kids adore peanut butter chips with devil's food cake mix. Spend a little time being creative the next time you find yourself in the baking isle of your grocery store and save yourself a lot of time with holiday baking. Happy holidays!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Simple Chocolate-Mint Cookies

  • 1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 c. softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. chocolate mint baking chips

Combine the cake mix, butter and egg in a large bowl and, using a mixer, blend until a soft dough forms. Stir in the baking chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Variation: Replace the chocolate mint baking chips with cherry flavored baking chips to make black forest cookies instead.
  • Yields: about 30 cookies
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes