DO NOT preheat your oven quite yet— this cookie dough needs to chill before baking.
1 box (approximately 18 ounces) red velvet cake mix, the kind that makes a 9-inch by 13-inch cake (I used Duncan Hines)
1 large egg, beaten (just whip it up in a glass with a fork)
2 cups of Original Cool Whip, thawed (measure this—a tub of Cool Whip contains a little over 3 cups and that’s too much!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet MINI chocolate chips
(I used Nestle)
1⁄2 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (you don’t have to sift it unless it’s got big lumps)
small jar of red maraschino cherries, cut in half vertically and without stems
Pour HALF of the dry cake mix into a large bowl.
Use a smaller bowl to mix the two cups of Cool Whip with the beaten egg and the vanilla extract. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until everything is combined.
Add the Cool Whip mixture to the cake mix in the large bowl. STIR VERY CAREFULLY with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir only until everything is combined. You don’t want to stir all the air from the Cool Whip.
Sprinkle the rest of the cake mix on top and gently fold it in with the rubber spatula. Again, keep as much air in the batter as possible. Air is what will make your cookies soft and have that melt-in-your-mouth quality.
Sprinkle the cup of semi-sweet mini chips on top and gently fold the chips into the airy cookie mixture. Cover the bowl and chill this mixture for at least one hour in the refrigerator. It’s a little too sticky to form into balls without chilling it first.
Hannah’s 1st Note: Andrea sometimes
mixes whippersnapper dough up before she goes to bed on Friday night and bakes her cookies with Tracey in the morning.
When your cookie dough has chilled and you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F., and make sure the rack is in the middle position. DO NOT take your chilled cookie dough out of the refrigerator until after your oven has reached the proper temperature.
While your oven is preheating, prepare your cookie sheets by spraying them with Pam or another nonstick baking spray, or lining them with parchment paper.
Place the confectioner’s sugar in a small, shallow bowl. You will be dropping cookie dough into this bowl to form dough balls and coating them with the powdered sugar.
When your oven is ready, take your dough out of the refrigerator. Using a tea- spoon from your silver ware drawer, drop the dough by rounded teaspoonful into the bowl with the powdered sugar. Roll the dough around with your fingers to form powdered-sugar-coated cookie dough balls.
Hannah’s 2nd Note: This is easiest if you coat your fingers with powdered sugar first and then tr y to form the cookie dough into balls.
Place the coated cookie dough balls on your prepared cookie sheets, no more than 12 cookies on a standard-size sheet.
If you haven’t already done so, cut your maraschino cherries in half and place one half, rounded side up, on top of each cookie ball on your baking sheet.
Hannah’s 3rd Note: I’ve said this be- fore, but it bears repeating. Work with only one cookie dough ball at a time. If you drop more than one in the bowl of powdered sugar, they’ll stick together.
Andrea’s Note: Make only as many cookie dough balls as you can bake at one time and then cover the dough and return it to the refrigerator. I have a double oven so I pre- pare 2 sheets of cookies at a time.
Bake your Red Velvet Whippersnapper
Cookies at 350 degrees F., for 10 to 12 minutes. Test for doneness by tapping them lightly with a finger to see if they’re “set.”
Let your cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely. (This is a lot easier if you line your cookie sheets with parchment paper—then you don’t need to lift the cookies one by one. All you have to do is grab one end of the parchment paper and pull it, cookies and all, onto the wire rack.)
Once the cookies are completely cool, store them between sheets of waxed paper in a cool, dry place. (Your refrigerator is cool, but it’s definitely not dry!)
Yield: 3 to 4 dozen soft, chewy cookies with little nuggets of chocolate inside. Yield will depend on cookie size.
Christmas normally descends on Lake Eden, Minnesota, as gently as reindeer alighting on a rooftop—but this yuletide season the only thing coming down Hannah Swensen’s chimney is a case of murder . . .
The holidays have arrived, and Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” a Santa-sized sackful of trouble ensues. Like the fact that Lisa’s husband will be playing Mr. Claus to his ex-girlfriend Phyllis Bates’ Mrs. Claus. Or that before the curtains even go up Phyllis is found dead in the snow—wearing a costume that the real Mrs. Claus would put on the naughty list. Soon after, the suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, while a merry murderer remains on the loose. With clues even harder to find, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays . . .
Includes a Dozen Holiday Recipes from The Cookie Jar!
“Tasty . . . Hannah is irresistible as a cookie fresh from the oven.” —Publishers Weekly