Happy February friends! I have some chocolaty Valentine cookies for you, and whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, cookies are rarely unwelcome!
You may have heard that you can make cookies with boxed cake mix and this recipe does just that, but with a boost of unsweetened cocoa powder and M&Ms! They are delicious; rich and not too sweet. If you’re looking for something tasty to bake for yourself or someone(s) you love, please try these and enjoy!
- 1 box of devil’s food chocolate cake mix
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup of butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of “cupid’s mix” Valentine M&Ms
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour the cake mix and unsweetened cocoa into a large bowl and stir gently to incorporate.
- Add the eggs and softened butter into the dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
- Divide the M&Ms: Mix one cup into the cookie dough and place the other cup into a separate small bowl.
- Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls, then dip the top of each dough ball into the small bowl of M&Ms and place each one onto the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the power of your oven.
- Bring the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Repeat this process until all the cookie dough has been baked, this should yield about 16 cookies.
Zoey, our little Tinker Bell, is one year old! This year has been an unusual one (understatement of the century), but it has flown by faster than I could have imagined and I have been fortunate enough to spend the majority of it at home with her; grateful for every moment.
Like many one year birthday boys and girls, Zoey has not been exposed to much sugar. Now I don’t mind a little sugar, but I did not want to sugar bomb her all at once so I created a homemade smash cake with frosting for her without adding extra sugar.
This Tinker Bell petal smash cake is a variation of a banana bread recipe my family has made for years without added sugar and a variation of cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar. I would consider the cake a tame banana flavor and the frosting a tangy cream cheese flavor, smoothed out with the addition of a natural sweetener (I used agave nectar). I purchased a used Disney Infinity Tinker Bell figurine off of Mercari, gave it a good cleaning, and used it as a cake topper with the obligatory “1” candle.
She was very tentative about smashing her smash cake, almost like she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to. Even with her audience coaxing her she only tasted a little bit of cake I broke off for her and mostly just played around in the frosting. Her favorite part of the cake was the Tinker Bell figurine up top and she ended up fixating on that. And what the hey, as long as she had fun!
So let’s make a smash cake for the little Tinker Bell in your life!
BANANA SMASH CAKE
- 3 bananas, overripe
- 1/2 cup of butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup of flour
- 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Grease two 6-inch cake pans, or line them with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and bananas together with a (hand) mixer.
- Add the eggs in one at a time, beating each in with the (hand) mixer.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
- Pour the mixed batter into the prepared cake pans about half to 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. The timing may vary depending on your oven so keep an eye on them!
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Mine were pretty flat. If yours do not turn out flat, cut the very tops off of the cakes to create flat tops for stacking and frosting.
- Frost your cake (see below).
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (NO ADDED SUGAR)
- 5 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 packs of cream cheese (8 ounce), room temperature
- A pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Green food coloring
*You can make the frosting up to several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.*
- Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until well combined.
- Add the agave nectar (or sweetener of choice), milk, salt and vanilla extract. Whip again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch and whip until well incorporated. If at this point the consistency is right for you, you can move on to the next step. If not you can add cornstarch one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired thickness (careful not to exceed 2 tablespoons total).
- Divide the frosting four equal parts in separate bowls. Add green food coloring to each bowl of frosting, ranging from dark to light green. Put each shade of green frosting into a pastry bag.
- Pipe and smear frosting on the top of the first layer of cake and gently place the second layer on top of this.
- Begin the petals by piping a dollop of dark green frosting on the side of the cake at the base. Take a flat slender spatula or butter knife press gently into the dollop and smear it to the right. Pipe another dollop of dark green near the end of the smear and repeat all the way around the cake.
- Repeat this process with the next shade of green and repeat, but stop before you reach the lightest shade of green and the top of the cake.
- Pipe and smear a healthy dollop of the lightest green frosting onto the top of the cake and smooth it out with a flat spatula, then continue with the last layer of petals in the lightest shade of green around the top of the cake.
- Adorn your cake with decorations.