I Am Baker

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cookies

I remember the first time I met my husbands grandma Carol.  We had been dating a little over a year and I was still very eager to impress all his family members.  (and failing miserably, buts thats another story)  I remember being very anxious and nervous and wishing I had brought flowers or something as a gift.

We arrived a home smelling of freshly baked cake and smiles around.  I was in shock, it appeared that his grandma had baked for us!  Carol was a busy wife and grandma (taking care of her wheelchair bound husband) and it was such a precious gesture on her part.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies!

“Thank you so much Carol!  This is delicious!  And thoughtful.  And delicious!  Did I mention delicious?  I cant believe you took the time to bake for us today.  It just means the world to me!”

I couldn’t stop gushing.  Her act of confectionery kindness had taken all my nervousness away.  I was starting to feel welcomed by Chad’s family.  He just might be a keeper! ;)

I was chatting with some of soon-to-be-hubby’s extended family while devouring the fantastic cake and mentioned just how good I thought it was.  Someone leaned over and whispered into my ear as if to share a deep dark family secret.

“Its from a box.”

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

A box?  Wasnt all cake from a box? (This was many years ago, long before I had ever baked a cake!) I was silenced and confused.

That moment changed me.  I couldnt for the life of me figure out why they would tell me that.  I could not figure out why it was even significant!  Never mind the fact that I had no clue that cake could even be made without a box, I just thought it was so unnecessary to point it out.

It hurt me.  I can only imagine how Carol would have felt had she heard.

Did the source of the ingredients decrease the value of the gift?

Fast forward to 2013.  There is still an ongoing baking war in terms of box vs. scratch.

People dismiss and reject others that do not profess to be 100% from-scratch bakers.  Magazines, authors, publishers, fellow bloggers all esteem that “from scratch” is the only way to bake and that anything less is unacceptable.  If you cannot prepare (and create!) quality from-scratch recipes then your value as a baker is significantly diminished.  I too, have been sucked into the “from scratch is best” way of thinking.  You will see that if I ever share recipes on my blog that involves a box mix I find a way to explain it or give a list of excuses why, as if trying to defend myself.

These days its pretty common knowledge that you will not be considered for any awards or publication if you embrace the “lazy” way.  People look down their nose at box cakes and actually sneer as they discovered that a  .99 box was the entire ingredient list.  Then there are those folks who pride themselves on instantly being able to determine if synthetically chemically flavored preservative laden box mix was served or if the ingredients were from scratch!

Why is there in innate fear of proclaiming the use of boxed cake mix?

When did it become shameful to admit that Betty Crocker had a hand in your confectionery masterpiece?

 

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

I get it.  I get it.  From-scratch is better for you.  Its sometimes cheaper.  Its more easily personalized.  Some think it tastes better.  Some think the crumb is better.  You are a real true, honest-to-goodness, original and accomplished baker if you make it from scratch.

And in all honesty, I am not concerned as to why people choose box vs. scratch.  What does concern me is the intent behind it.

I know there is no way I can win this particular baking war, but I would like to try and wage at least one small battle.

My goal is simple.  Look beyond the cake.  Yes, taste and appearance is of utmost importance and I fully support you embracing what you love best.  But its almost as if we have missed a small step in the directions.

Remember the big picture.  The giving, sharing, and devouring of cake together is a wonderful gift.  It is a time to celebrate people and make memories.

I cant think of a single time I ever made and decorated a cake to simply devour it all myself in private.  To not photograph it or show it to family or share it with friends.

Cakes are made to be shared.

At that glorious moment when a surprised birthday girl cuts into a beautiful pink cake or when a tired neighbor opens the door only to see a sinfully decadent chocolate cake in front of a friendly face… in that moment it surely does not matter if the cake was a box or from scratch.  What matters is that you touched someones heart.

That you brought them joy.

That you now have a lifelong memory based on a generosity of spirit and a willingness to serve.

That is what matters, right?

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

That being said, I proudly share with you today a far-from-scratch recipe that I have come to love.  Its over the top and rich and easy and wonderful.  There is an obscene amount of white chocolate chips and that is just the way I like it.  (You can certainly decrease the amount you use to accommodate your tastes.)

I share it with you in the hopes that it brings you as much joy as it has brought us.  But if you just cant beyond the fact that I used a box mix, I understand.   I cant help but think that maybe somewhere along the line though, you may miss a blessing.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Pour dry ingredients into medium bowl.
  2. Add oil and eggs and mix until well combined.
  3. Stir in all chips.
  4. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop out small balls of dough. This recipe makes 18-24 cookies, so I had three cookies sheets prepared.
  5. Place eight dough balls on each cookie sheet. (If you would prefer a smoother appearance for your cookie, go back and roll each cookie between your hands.)
  6. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
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Enjoy!

Here is the from scratch version:

Triple Chocolate Cookies from the Pioneer Woman

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    You are so right! In all this hoo-hah of making things from scratch that we actually ignore the genuine effort of the person on the other end. For me, it is the thought that has gone behind baking my favorite cake rather than whether it comes out of a box or your pantry. I don’t care. For that matter I don’t care if it doesn’t taste that good. Its the gesture which is overwhelming.

    And with Indian desserts, trust me, even with the box mixes there is a huge amount of work that is involved, so definitely can’t underestimate it. :)

  2. says

    I am a “from scratch” baker (Margie’s Cottage Kitchen). I operate a cottage kitchen, so I sell my baked items. It is my experience that there is NEVER a real comparison between the two. From scratch has always tasted better, and without the added chemicals and preservatives, it’s just nice to know there are fewer ingredients to make an awesome tasting product.

    Also, I feel if my customers are going to pay a nice sum to have me bake a cake, brownies, cookies, or whatever for them, they deserve it to be from scratch. If they wanted a box cake, they could make that themselves. It’s when they go looking for that taste from their grandmother’s famous cake that they come looking for me because a box has never delivered them that same flavor.

    I think many don’t bake from scratch because they are intimidated by the recipe itself, or they don’t want to deal with all of the ingredients. In a pinch, I see no problem with box mixes for those who don’t bake professionally, especially for those on a really tight schedule. It gives them a chance to enjoy the baking process. As a professional baker, my quality promise to my customers is that their product will be made fresh and from scratch. http://facebook.com/mycottagekitchen

  3. Lisa says

    First of all, you are an inspiration to me! I keep saying how I am going to make a cake decorated with the roses! So beautiful! Also, thank you so much for this post! It was a good one for me, because I am NOT a cake mix lover….but my husband loves cake and keeps on buying them! I put off making them forever and then say silently to myself as I finally do, “I just hate cake mixes!”. Anyway, now you have taught me that there is more to it than the cake mix. Look beyond the cake mix and see the blessings! Family time…eating cake….together. Thank you! I will never complain about a cake mix again. Also, the cookies look fantastic with the white chocolate chips. I think I will be making those with one of the box cake mixes! So glad that I was led to your page. Keep up the great blog posts and beautiful baking!!!

  4. says

    I have made a variation of these cookies, along with a slew of other cake mix cookies with my sons. It was a great way to introduce them to the kitchen and share my love of baking while being fun.
    I do love my scratch cookies, cakes, and pies but the memories I’ve made with my sons keeps me loving boxed mixes. My 9 year old is now known for his box mix chocolate peanut butter cookies and the look of accomplishment on his face when he hears people raving about them just melts my heart.

  5. Patty Montpetit says

    Very well put! Shouldn’t always be the thought behind it rather than how it was made? Your cookies look delicious. But all you cakes and goodies always look so yummy. You are one talented woman!

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