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“From-a-mix” Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

About this time of year, many of us find ourselves baking cookies, brownies, and bars to bring to end-of-the-year events. I went searching for some easy treats and found a brownie mix cookie. It reminded me of an old recipe from a friend, a chocolate cookie made from a cake mix, all sandwiched together with cream cheese frosting. I love from-a-mix cookies because it’s much less measuring, which equals fewer dishes! Plus you can customize them by using different cake and frosting flavors, but before you cook up a batch, here are my recipe notes:

1) The cake-mix chocolate cookies are best served as sandwiches. The cookies themselves are fine, but without the chocolate chips, they need something extra. The frosting is the ticket.
2) As a shortcut, substitute it with a store-bought frosting instead of homemade cream-cheese frosting.
3) The brownie-mix cookie could work either with or without the frosting. They stand alone especially if you use a brownie mix which includes chocolate chunks, if not just add two cups of chips. (I highly recommend the Ghirardelli family of brownie mixes.) Also the original Brownie Mix recipe required chilling the dough, but it worked fine for me without the chilling.

On to the recipes…

Cake-Mix Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

2 packages chocolate cake mix
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together ingredients. The dough will be thick. Roll dough into balls and place on a non-greased cookie sheet, 1″ apart. Flatten slightly. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool on rack before frosting.

Brownie-Mix Chocolate Chunk Cookies from TastyKitchen

2 packages (18-21 oz. each) of brownies (I recommend Ghirardelli Brownie Mix, which chocolate chunks in the mix.)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 whole eggs
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
2-3 tablespoons water, or more as needed
2 cups chocolate chunks (only if not using a chunks-in-the-mix brownie)

1. Whisk together brownie mix, flour, and sugar.
2.Using a heavy spoon (not a mixer), stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by melted butter. Incorporate thoroughly. Once completely mixed, if the batter appears like there is too much flour, add 1 more tablespoon of water. Batter will be very thick.
3. Fold in chocolate chunks.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.On a greased cookie sheet, drop heaping tablespoon of dough. Press down to flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, allow to cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. Once completely cool, frost and press other to complete the sandwich.
7. Store in the refrigerator until served. Pull them out of the fridge 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8-ounces softened cream cheese (1/3 or full fat cream cheese will work)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add 3 cups powdered sugar. Whip frosting until it is smooth. If needed add up to 1 cup of powdered sugar as needed. Add vanilla.

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