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Pina Colada White Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

Posted May 06 2012 3:01am

 I’m always a fan of eating my drinks.

Or drinking my cookies.

However you want to call it, we’re talking pina colada in cookie form.

I know that Cinco de Mayo was yesterday, but feel free to keep your fiesta going with these. I will.

Let me count the ways these little golden nuggets of sunshine brightened my day:

They came together in one bowl with a spoon and no mixer is required.

They use a cup of cake mix, virtually guaranteeing a successful result.

They are soft, light, and fluffy; yet chewy.

The hidden surprises of dried fruit add some lovely texture to all that lightness and fluffiness.

This is a small batch recipe, making only 1 dozen cookies, which is a blessing. No one needs 3 or 4 dozen cookies that are all the same. Well, I don’t.

And they make use of one of my favorite food inventions: flattened bananas.

I am sorry if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s . You can try using banana chips (the hard, disc-like chips), soak them in water until they soften, press out the water into a paper towel, dice and use them in the cookies.

I love dehydrated bananas and they’re about the only reason I will bother firing up my dehydrator anymore. Very few foods are worth a 12 hour wait and aroma wafting through the house for day(s).

I don’t really want to smell kale chips for 12 hours but the scent of warm, roasting bananas is another story.

However, for $1.29 for 6 large, flat slabs of flattened bananas, it’s a no-brainer to just buy them.

The flattened bananas are so incredibly sweet you’d think they were bathed in sugar, but no. The ingredients are: bananas.

The natural banana sugars concentrate and intensity in the flattening process, which is what happens when I dehydrate bananas; and I suspect Trader Joe’s dehydrates these, too.

Whatever method they use in making those bananas taste the way they do, I am grateful.

I paid homage by putting the bananas to use in cookies.

 I also added dried pineapple bits, golden raisins, coconut flakes, and white chocolate chips.

I didn’t add rum but thought about it.

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Pina Colada White Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

Makes 1 dozen cookies (I got 13).  Double the recipe by using nearly the full box of cake mix and doubling all other measurements.

1/4 cup butter (half of one stick), softened

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup yellow cake mix (this is a couple tablespoons shy of half an 18.25 ounce box ofcake mix)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour* (range from 2 to 4 tablespoons)

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes

1/3 cup diced dried fruit mixture (I used flattened bananas, candied dried pineapple, golden raisins; all diced small. A “tropical fruit medley” would be perfect)

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl combine the softened butter, egg, vanilla and stir by hand or with a mixer until combined.  You don’t have to “cream” it, just stir to blend and it’s okay if there are some butter “blobs”. Add the cake mix and stir until batter is smooth. Add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, as needed to help solidify the dough. *The more flour used, the more cake-like and less chewy the cookies will be; add as little as needed to keep the cookies more cookie-like if you prefer chewy cookies. You may not need to add any flour at all.

Fold in the coconut flakes, dried fruit, white chocolate chips, and place the mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes. Do not skip this step. Chilled dough spreads less during the baking process and this dough must be chilled before baking.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop 1-inch domed balls on a Silpat-lined, parchment paper-lined, or cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, allowing for adequate spacing. These cookies do not spread much and retain a puffier appearance (and the more flour added, the more they will retain a domed appearance). Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until cookies are barely browned on the bottoms. Do not judge the doneness by the tops; look at the bottoms. The tops will stay light but the bottoms will brown. They make look a bit loose on the tops after 10 minutes but they will continue to cook on the sheets after you remove the from the oven and will firm up as they cool. Do not overbake.  Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets before attempting to move them. Cookies will keep for a week on the countertop in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Gather the ingredients. The cake mix keeps these light, fluffy, and is a time-saver.

Everything goes into one bowl . You can skip the banana and use other types dried fruit such as a dried fruit medley, a tropical fruit mix, extra candied pineapple, apricots, extra golden raisins, dried peaches, or whatever you have.

Grab one spoon and stir.

Not many dishes because everything is contained in one bowl. Love that.

Bake up your pina coladas. While you wait, you could actually make a pina colada of the liquid variety.

Sounds like a good idea, right? Then you’ll have a pina colada ready and waiting for washing down your pina colada cookies.

Scott said these were the best cookies I’ve ever made.

However, he has a thing for desserts that tastes like drinks.

We got pretty tipsy from rum cake about 10 years ago in Grand Cayman. Do you know how much cake you have to eat to get drunk from it? Okay, don’t answer that.

In our cake-gorging defense, the free cake samples are laced with extra rum in the hopes people will buy cake. It reminds me of touring vineyards and signing up for more wine-of-the-month clubs than I should admit.

The rum cake samples worked because I bought the cake but unfortunately when I got it home, it wasn’t nearly as good as the free samples were that day in Grand Cayman.

I have such fond memories of that day, and that cake, that I created Rum Cake Balls (no-bake, vegan, GF)

Related Recipes:

Coconut Peanut Butter Magic Cake Bars – yellow cake mix, coconut, white chocolate chips make these bars similar to the cookies and the bars are my favorite dessert of 2012

Coconut Oatmeal Toffee Cookies – also a small batch (1 dozen) cookie recipe, one bowl, and no mixer required

Dark Rum Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – I find alcohol in cookies makes them thinner, extra soft, and pliable

Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – no alcohol in these, just plenty of strawberry flavor and very soft and light from the cake mix

Mango and White Chocolate Chip Cookies – Similar to using alcohol, using frozen mango chunks kept them on the thinner side, chewy, and moist

I have an arsenal of smoothie recipes intended to be replicas of some of my favorite beach drinks. Of course, you can add rum, Malibu, Gran Marnier, vanilla vodka, marshmallow vodka or something fun. I recommend it and can you make me one while you’re at it?

Here are a couple ideas:

Have you ever made cake mix cookies?

I made strawberry cake mix cookies and I find that cake mix cookies turn out light, fluffy, soft, chewy, and almost delicate. They are the opposite of compost cookies , i.e lead balloons.

Sometimes I love lead balloons because of their density and richness, but lighter and softer is a nice change especially for spring, and Scott loved these.

Do you like pina coladas?

I adore them. I can suck down 300 empty calories so incredibly fast it’ll make your head spin. Or peach-pina coladas or mango coladas. Put me on a beach with a fruit colada and I don’t want to ever leave.

Have a great week!

Thanks for the Special K Granola Bars Giveaway entries

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