Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Copycat Chick Fil A Spicy Chicken Sandwich

There's been a lot of hype lately with Chick Fil-A. And they haven't been positive. I'm not gonna get into the details of it, nor am I going to discuss my views on it. It is what it is and people can form their own opinion on it, but not me. I'm here to discuss food.

Hubby and I recently decided to try out Chick Fil-A because they've been appearing in random places here in Southern California. I decided to try out their Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It had just the right amount of spice without burning the roof of my mouth. And it was quite yummy. I also loved the friendly vibe I got in this fast food joint. So I told hubby that this was a good fast food place we can frequent. But because of the recent media attention they've been getting, I didn't think it would be a good time to visit one. And because of the recent media attention, I've been seeing a lot of copycat recipes for their chicken sandwich.

This recipe appeared on Shine from Yahoo and I decided to give it a go. It was pretty simple to make and quite tasty. Very flavorful. A good alternative if you can't make it out to a Chick Fil-A.

2 boneless, skinless chicken
1/2 cup pickle juice
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 cup oil for frying
toasted hamburger buns
dill pickle slices

1) Place chicken between two plastic wrap and gently pound with a meat mallet (or any heavy kitchen utensil) to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut chicken into two even pieces and place in a bowl. Pour pickle juice and Tabasco sauce in bowl and stir until well incorporated. Marinade for 30 minutes to an hour.

2) In a small bowl, bet together egg and milk. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and all the spices.

3) Heat oil in a skillet to 345-350 deg F. Dip chicken in egg mixture and then coat with the flour mixture. Fry chicken for about 2-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Place on a paper towel to drain oil and serve on toasted bun with pickles.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sno-Ball Cake

Happy birthday my wonderful hubby!

Since my birthday, I had been picking my brain trying to figure out what kind of cake I could make for his birthday. Hubby recently informed me that when he was a kid, the only kind of cake he would get (or even ask for) for his birthday was a Hostess Sno-Ball. You know those bright pink marshmallow, chocolate cake treats? Now, I've had my fair share of Sno-Balls during my youth. However, I found it a little strange to be celebrating with a store-bought, vacuum-packed little snack treat.

Then, I had a crazy idea. A while ago, I made some homemade Hostess Cupcakes, right? Why not make homemade Sno-Balls??? Hubby would totally love that! And since its his birthday, I decided to make it into a cake. I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe and the marshmallow fluff from my recent Fluffernutter Cupcakes and assemble to look like a Hostess Sno-Ball. I had some leftover batter, so I used it to make cupcakes/individual versions as well.  And the result was a yummy, moist chocolaty, marshmallow-y treat reminiscent of our youth. Hubby took his first bite and he immediately said it brought him back to the 1st grade.

1 recipe for chocolate cake
prepared marshmallow fluff
shredded coconut
red food color

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease and flour an oven-safe bowl of desired size. Set aside.

2) Prepare cake according to directions. Pour batter into prepared bowl about three-quarters full. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake is set and toothpick test comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the bowl for about 10 minutes. Remove cake from bowl and invert on a cooling rack to cool completely.

3) Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, carefully slice a thin layer off the flat side of the cake. Set aside. Create a large hole by hollowing out the center of the flat side of the remaining cake. Fill the hole with a good amount of marshmallow fluff. Replace the thin layer of cake back on the cake.

4) Invert the cake on a platter, flat side down. Cover the rounded part of the cake with globs of marshmallow fluff and smooth out.

5) Place a good amount of shredded coconut and a few drops of food color in a food processor. Pulse the processor until the color of the coconut has turned bright pink and you've reached the desired consistency of the coconut. Press pink coconut on top and all over the surface of the frosted cake. Serve.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Baked Pasta with Spinach and Sausage

Lately, I've been enjoying quiet Monday mornings alone because my 4 year old daughter has been going to school everyday for a few hours for summer school. Although I miss her deeply, because I have never been away from her on my days off, I am totally loving the few quiet hours I have to myself. I have every intention of running errands or doing chores during these days. However, its only been a few Mondays that she's been in school. And during those times, I have just laid in bed and enjoyed the quiet calmness of our house.

It was on this recent quiet Monday that I was actually able to watch my shows and not watch anything that had to do with Mickey Mouse or Kai-Lan. It was this recent Monday that I watched an episode of Rachael Ray's Week in a Day on the Cooking Channel and featured a recipe for Baked Ziti with Spinach and Veal. I was drooling. So before I had to pick up my daughter from school, I headed to the supermarket to buy a few ingredients.

After reading a few of the comments, I decided to modify the recipe based on the comments and the result was this yummy and flavorful make-ahead casserole dish. This dish is great because you can make it ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to bake it. However, I find that the dish tends to dry out if you make it ahead rather than bake it off right away. If I decided to make this ahead again, I think I'll be making extra sauce to help make it more creamy.

2 bunches of fresh spinach, washed, dried and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian Turkey sausage, casings removed (or use regular ground turkey)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped sage leaves
black pepper
1 cup white wine or chicken broth (or 1/2 cup of each)
1 lb. pasta (like penne, farfalle, corkscrew, etc.)
4 Tbsp. butter
3 rounded Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
ground nutmeg to taste
6 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1) Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Salt the water and cook pasta 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain pasta if done before sauce.

2) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ground meat. Lightly brown meat and crumble. Add chopped carrot, onion, and sage leaves. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until carrots and onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine and turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer gently.

3) In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour for about a minute. Then whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a bubble and season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Once the sauce has thickened, adjust the nutmeg and black pepper to your liking.

4) To the meat mixture, add chopped spinach and cook until wilted and thoroughly incorporated. Stir in pasta and sauce. Pour mixture in a casserole dish and top with the cheeses.

5) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 deg F. Bake for 35-45 minutes if reheating the dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes if baking immediately. Serve hot.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bottega Louie to celebrate our birthdays

As you all know, last week, I celebrated another year of my existence. I baked Fluffernutter Cupcakes and Biscoff Cupcakes to commemorate the day. Traditionally in our family, if our birthdays land on a weekday, we celebrate by going out to a fancy dinner the following weekend. And because hubby's and my birthday is about 2 weeks apart, we usually go out on the weekend between our birthdays. This past weekend happened to be that weekend.

My mom asked me where I wanted to go out to dinner. Normally we go to our usual restaurants: Lawry's Prime Rib, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Fleming's, or Roy's. This year, however, I wanted to try something different. All thanks to one of my good friends who had instilled in me a new restaurant that I had been dying to visit. Bottega Louie.

A fairly new restaurant, Bottega Louie is a hip restaurant and gourmet market. Most of its clientele are yuppies. Rarely will you see a young family or that of the older generation. Its a very loud and busy establishment.

(Macaron display on the window)

As soon as you enter the restaurant, you will be overwhelmed with the abundance of dessert displays. From cupcakes to cookies to different pastries......

.....and finally what they're famous for. Macarons.

As we were seated at our table, we were served with their baked bread and a side of butter that they place directly on our table, lined with butcher paper.

For starters, we ordered their popular Portobello fries, which were strips of Portobello mushrooms dipped in batter and deep fried. Served with an aioli sauce, this appetizer had quite a unique taste that was quite yummy. We also ordered their Diver Scallops, as recommended by our waiter. The scallops were sweet and moist and so tender. A great recommendation. And of course, if a menu has fried calamari in it, you better believe we'll order it. And so we did. 

For our main courses, we all ordered different dishes. Mom ordered the Ceppo Gamber, shrimp with ceppo pasta and sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

Hubby ordered the Striped Sea Bass served on top of risotto.

I ordered the popular dish on the menu, the Trenne, which is trenne pasta, fried to a crisp, with braised prime rib eye and kale. I know why this dish was popular because it was delicious.

I didn't get a chance to photograph my sister and brother's meal. But my sister had the Lasagna Bolognese and my brother had the Hanger Steak Verdura, which they both enjoyed. My brother even had a few bites of my sister's lasagna, because it was apparently super delicious. 

As an added bonus, we were seated right in front of the pizza making station where we (mostly my daughter) were thoroughly entertained by the pizza tosser.

For dessert, my brother decided to order the chocolate souffle with Tahitian Vanilla Bean sauce and a side of vanilla bean gelato. 

I decided to order something outside of my normal creme brulee and settled on the Le Grande Macaron, which was a vanilla macaron stuffed with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries. Yummy!

After we had eaten our meal, one of the managers came by and asked how our dinner went. Mom mentioned that it was hubby and my birthdays, and so they served us each a scoop of gelato that I couldn't eat much of because I was stuffed.

Of course, we couldn't leave Bottega Louie without purchasing any of the Macarons they're known for. So I bought a small box, along with some sprinkled pretzels that my daughter, of course, wanted to have.

All in all, I was very pleased with my experience at Bottega Louie. My parents and hubby loved the food, but weren't too keen about how noisy the place was. Its a marketplace, so its what's expected. I'm not sure if hubby would want to return here again. But I'm hoping he'll allow us to return, because I heard they also had an awesome brunch menu :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Biscoff Cupcakes

In continuing with my birthday celebration week, I said that I had made 2 new cupcake recipes for my special day. I made Fluffernutter Cupcakes and these Biscoff Cupcakes from The Three Little Piglets.

I jumped the Biscoff bandwagon almost a year ago and have become obsessed with Biscoff spread. The first and last time I've used Biscoff spread in a recipe, however, was when I made Biscoff Cookie Dough Balls. Those were so addicting. And it had been a while since I've made anything with Biscoff spread, I thought it was time to use this yummy, but better alternative, to peanut butter again.

If you can't find Biscoff spread, you can find Cookie Butter at your local Trader Joe's which works just as well. These cupcake were delicious with the hint of Biscoff in both the cupcake and frosting. Definitely the favorite among the two cupcakes I made for my birthday.

6 oz. melted unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. Biscoff spread

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cupcake pan with 10 paper liners.

2) Allow butter to cool until it begins to solidify, but is still pourable.

3) In a bowl of an electric mixer, cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually add melted butter and cream.

3) Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time. Mix just until combined. Add Biscoff spread and continue mixing until well incorporated.

4) Evenly distribute batter into cupcake liners about two-thirds full. Bake for 17-20 minutes until toothpick test comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before cooling completely on a cooling rack.

Biscoff Buttercream frosting
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. Biscoff spread
crumbled Biscoff cookies for garnish (optional)

1) Cream together butter and confectioner's sugar. Add vanilla extract and milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in Biscoff spread. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fluffernutter Cupcakes

Do y'all know what today means? Its a reason to celebrate and bake cupcakes. Yup, its my thirty-something birthday. And every year when my birthday comes around (or any one's birthday, for that matter), I always like to bake something. Especially a cake or cupcakes. This year, I actually wanted to try out two new cupcake recipes.

Have you ever had a fluffernutter sandwich? If not, you are totally missing out. I have to admit that I didn't learn of this kid favorite until I became an adult. Its a simple sandwich of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Simple, but oh so yummy. I came across this recipe for Fluffernutter Cupcakes from the Novice Chef a while ago that I had saved up for a special day. And today is as special as it gets, dontcha think?

The cupcake is a dense peanut-buttery goodness, paired with a light and airy marshmallow frosting that any peanut butter lover would enjoy. So as I celebrate my thirty-something birthday today surrounded by those I love most, why not have yourself a Fluffernutter Cupcake to celebrate with me :) And tomorrow, I shall continue with my cupcake celebration with another recipe.

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups milk
Chocolate Hazelnut spread for the filling

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.

2)  In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat together brown sugar, oil, and peanut butter over medium speed until light and fluffy.   Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract.

3) In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add dry mixture into batter, alternating with the milk. Scoop batter into prepared liners about three-quarters full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before cooling completely in a cooling rack.

4) Make a cone-shaped hole on the top of each cupcake. Pipe in chocolate hazelnut spread in the hole. Set aside.

Marshmallow Frosting
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water (double boiler). Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and the egg white mixture is warm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes.

2) Transfer egg white mixture in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on low speed, and then gradually increasing to high speed until stiff, glossy peaks forms, about 5-7 minutes. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until well incorporated. Immediately frost prepared cupcakes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Moroccan Beef Stew

I've never had Moroccan food other than when I attempted to make it a few years ago when I made Crockpot Moroccan Chicken, which turned out pretty well. I came across this recipe from Spark Recipes. And since my Moroccan Chicken turned out so well, I figured this would turn out just as well. This was a super easy dish to make and came out so delicious and full of flavor from the curry and garam masala. I'm glad I was able to find another use for garam masala other than an Indian dish. And I love how this dish was a mixture of sweet and savory. I think I like this dish is better than its chicken counterpart. Serve this on top of couscous to complete your exotic meal.

2 lbs. beef, cubed
4 carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. yellow curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 cups broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
1 (14.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro for garnish
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers for garnish (optional)

1) Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add meat and sear on all sides. Remove meat and set aside.

2) In the same pan, add carrots, onions, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add curry, garam masala, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine.

3) Add beef and vegetable mix in the crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Add chickpeas and raisin (if using) and dried apricots. Cook for another 30 minutes to an hour. Serve on top of couscous.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ham Sandwich Casserole

I recently discovered that King's Hawaiian had a website full of recipes using their beloved sweet rolls. As I searched through all the yummy recipes, I found this interesting casserole for Mini Baked Ham Sandwiches. It was so easy and so tasty. Its an alternative recipe for a plain 'ol ham and cheese sandwich. I'm definitely going back to website for more tasty recipes.

1 (12 pack) King's Hawaiian Original Rolls
1 lb. deli ham, shaved
1 lb. Swiss cheese, sliced
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. prepared mustard (preferably Dijon)
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion (or onion powder)
poppy seed for garnish

1) In a small saucepan, melt butter. Mix in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and onion. Set aside.

2) Slice entire pack of rolls horizontally in half, keeping all the rolls in tact. Place bottom half of rolls (cut side up) in a 9x13 inch pan. Arrange deli ham and cheese on top of rolls. Cover with the top half of the rolls.

3) Drizzle butter mixture on top of rolls. Refrigerate overnight.

4) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Bake casserole for 15-20 minutes. Separate rolls and serve.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding

The reason I made Homemade Vanilla Pudding the other day was because I wanted to use it on this banana pudding recipe I found from the Food Network from Paula Deen that I've bookmarked for a long time. I've never really had banana pudding until about a few months ago when I decided to pick some up at one of the cupcake shops at the mall. One taste of the banana pudding and I was hooked. I had one of my co workers have a taste of it and he asked me if I was sure I wasn't from the South, because I always had Southern desserts for him to try out. I'm not from the South but I am a huge fan of Southern food (do Red Velvet Cupcakes come to mind?). So whenever I see banana pudding on a menu at a restaurant, I always wanted to give it a try. Honestly, I always thought that banana pudding was just a pudding with banana flavoring. Boy was I wrong!

This recipe was pretty easy, if you take the labor out of making vanilla pudding from scratch. You could definitely use a boxed mix as the original recipe calls for. But you know me and making it from scratch. And I definitely think making it from scratch makes a big difference. The original recipe makes a huge 9x13 dessert, but you can easily cut the recipe in half if you don't want to make too much of it. You can also use any type of shortbread cookie, like Lorna Doone, because the Chessmen cookies can be pretty expensive. The end result is this creamy and comforting dessert. The dessert is even better the next day because it gives the cookies a chance to soften from the vanilla pudding. I can't stop eating it!

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies (or any shortbread cookies)
6-8 bananas, sliced
2 cups prepared vanilla pudding
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) container frozen whipped topping

1) Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with a layer of cookies. Top the cookies with sliced bananas. Set aside.

2) In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and condensed milk and mix until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Stir in prepared vanilla pudding until well incorporated.

3) Pour mixture over cookies and bananas. Arrange the remaining cookies on top of the creamed mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

There is a dessert that I've bookmarked for a long time that I've been dying to try out. It consists of boxed vanilla pudding. But ya'll know me and making things from scratch. So I decided to find a good recipe for a homemade vanilla pudding to use for that recipe and found this one from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.

This is so easy to make. And I've seen homemade gift ideas using ingredients for vanilla pudding that I'm now considering giving away as Christmas gifts this year. Because this was really delicious and so comforting that everyone should really try. You can serve this warm or cold. Eat it plain or topped with your favorite fruit. I ate mine with fresh blueberries and it was such a refreshing dessert. I can't wait to add this to my next dessert......to be continued.......

3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod)

1) In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, salt and cornstarch. Whisk in cream, milk and egg yolks. (If using a vanilla pod, split in half and scrape off all the seeds. Place seeds and the pod in mixture). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture has thickened.

2) Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract (if not using vanilla pod). Whisk until butter is melted. Strain through a sieve to remove any lumps. Serve warm or cold. For storage, place plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

I was watching The Best Thing I ever made on the Food Network a few days ago and Adam Gertler made a Reuben Dog. Oh-Em-Gee did it look good. Unfortunately, making the hot dog looked pretty complicated. But I so wanted to eat something like that. It consisted of a pastrami flavored hot dog, topped with Gruyere cheese, thousand island dressing, and coleslaw. Doesn't that sound yummy?

For dinner the other day, I wanted to somehow recreate that yummy dog. So I picked up a few links of Bratwursts and Gruyere cheese at a local German deli, made my own coleslaw, and then decided to make Thousand Island Dressing from scratch modifying this recipe from cooks.com. Man-oh-man. I'm not sure what Adam's Reuben Dog tasted like, but this is one of the best dogs I've ever had. So delish! The thousand island dressing really tied everything together. yummy!

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 sweet pickle relish
1 hard boiled egg

1) In a medium bowl, add mayonnaise, ketchup and relish. Grate hard boiled egg through a sieve over the the mixture. Stir until well combined. Chill before use.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Huli-Huli Chicken

Huli-Huli is Hawaiian for "turn-turn." In this case, its all about turning the chicken over an open fire. As in rotisserie-style chicken. Of the many times I've been to Hawaii, I've never really had Huli-Huli chicken. Even hubby has never had it, and he has more ties to the islands than I do because his family lives there. Though we often see signs on the side of the road advertising the sale of this coveted Hawaiian dish, it never really occurred to us to give it a try. It is said that back in the day, Huli-Huli chicken is often made during fundraising events. Many Hawaiians often look to the newspaper for any advertisements for fundraisers serving Huli-Huli Chicken.

This recipe came up on Facebook from Hawaiian Food Online and was so simple to make. However, grilling chicken never really works out well for me. It always come out undercooked, which totally takes away from the enjoyment of eating a delicious meal. From this recipe, though, I learned that the chicken has to be cooked for about 20-30 minutes on each side over a low-medium flame. Because I've never really had Huli Huli chicken before this, I can't really compare it to anything. But it came out delicious. Once I get the kinks out of grilling a chicken, I'm definitely going to be make this again.

3 chickens, cut into quarters
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger root, finely minced
2 drops of Worcestershire sauce

1) Mix all ingredients, except chicken, in a medium bowl. Brush sauce over chicken pieces. Cook chicken on a grill until done, about 20-30 minutes on each side. Brush sauce on chicken pieces repeatedly throughout the cooking process. Serve with steamed rice and Hawaiian-style Macaroni salad.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Happy 1st of July!!! I can't believe that summer is in full swing. What a way to kick off the heat of the summer by baking cookies. lol! I had to crank up the oven today, because when I saw these cookies from The Novice Chef, I had to make them right away. I've often had chocolate crinkle cookies, but never a red velvet version. I didn't realize how simple these yummy cookies were. Everyone knows that I like to make things from scratch. But with the use of a boxed cake mix in this recipe, I think I can make an exception.

I used the crinkle cookie recipe on the side of the box from Duncan Hines. The only difference from the Novice Chef version is the addition of lemon zest and cornstarch. It gives the cookie an extra zing. This technique, however, can used with other boxed cake mixes like chocolate, lemon, or even funfetti (obviously, you'd omit the lemon zest if you were using the chocolate cake mix). This is a great recipe that you can quickly whip up when you have a cookie craving and have extra cake mixes on hand.

6 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 box Red Velvet cake mix
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Place confectioner's sugar and cornstarch in a shallow bowl and set aside.

2) In a large bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, lemon zest and cake mix until there are no large lumps left.

3) Roll dough into 1-inch balls (about 1 tablespoon of dough) and coat in confectioner's sugar and cornstarch mixture. Place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-inch apart.

4) Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the tops have crackled and have set (the centers will still be gooey). Allow to sit for 5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.