When it's cold and rainy and a sick Mama (that would be me in this story) is stuck inside the house most of the day with a perfectly healthy, perfectly wild almost 3-year-old, what does a Mama do (aside from watch way too much Sesame Street)?
This Mama bakes crazy colored, grumpy old man monster cookies.
In her feverish condition, this Mama forgot that her toddler has the listen skills of a puppy (but worse) and loves to get into EVERYTHING in the kitchen. His favorite things include, knives, scissors, can openers and cheese graters. Naturally, Octavian's interest in making these cookies lated about as long as it took me to get out the ingredients. That is, until I showed him the food coloring. If you have a ninja child with impulse control problems like I do, I warn you, this part can be tricky.
If you don't, then this will be the easiest cookie recipe you ever make.
I actually found the recipe thanks to Lil' Luna's awesome blog. I typically steer clear of any and all recipes that require box cake, box brownies, box bread...you get the idea, but this one was just too good to pass up. My hope was to have a fun and magical grumpy old man monster cookie baking experience with my child, and figured the box cake would help speed things along. The first part wasn't exactly magical (but is it ever?), however, the second part definitely holds true.
These cookies are a piece of cake to prepare and may have even changed my opinion of boxed mixes...a little.
Which reminds me, does anyone know of any NATURAL food coloring that actually works? I am all for balance, and with a kiddo in the house, food coloring is too fun to dismiss entirely, but I would use it WAY MORE often if it existed in a healthier form.
That said, I've already shared these cookies with several people and they've been a HUGE hit! Everyone has loved them. Octavian especially loves to pick off all the googly eyes and leave the cookie (or crumble it all over the house).
Grumpy Old Man Monster Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes (+ chill 30 minutes) / Cook Time: 10-12 minutes / Total Time: 55-57 minutes
Yield: approximately 18 cookies
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 box white cake mix
Powdered sugar (approx. 1/2 cup)
Food coloring of choice
In a large bowl beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy (about 1 minute). Beat in the egg and continue to mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add cake mix and beat until incorporated.
Divide batter between 3 bowls (or, more or less bowls depending on how many colors you want). Add several drops of food coloring to each bowl and stir until food coloring is completely mixed with the batter. Cover each bowl with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
With clean hands roll into balls (it will be sticky! but chilling in the refrigerator should help) and gently roll in powdered sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets and gently press each ball down slightly with the ball of your hand. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes.
Remove cookies from the oven; immediately after removal, have your googly eye balls ready, as they need to be gently pressed into the cookie right after removal from the oven. Allow cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe inspired by Lil' Luna