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Rocky Road Cake Mix Cookies + Gifting Christmas Cookies!

Rocky Road Cake Mix Cookies + Gifting Christmas Cookies!

Christmas is coming up like, well, Christmas, so let’s get right down to brass tacks. I am here today to tell you this, sis: 1. Freeze-dried mini marshmallows are a completely worthwhile investment in your personal happiness; & 2. Please box up some of your Christmas cookies as gifts for people not expecting gifts from you. Oh, and there’s a nice little Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy-style cookie recipe thrown in for good measure. But really, it’s all about the freeze-dried marshmallows. If I thought my husband wouldn’t have a coronary, I would investigate a freeze-drier for home use. I believe it would make me feel just like an astronaut. Except they probably don’t freeze-dry their own food. Never mind.

These cookies are a neat little trick: rocky road cookies. Made from a chocolate cake mix. For nuts, I used raw whole almonds that I lightly toasted in a 325°F oven in a single layer for 7 minutes, and then gave them a rough chop. But really? Keep it simple, and use some roasted almond pieces or something so we can keep this zippitydodah quick. Okay?

Mini freeze-dried marshmallows are really the main event, though. The best part of kid cereal. For cookies. For cakes. For snacking. For hot cocoa. For hiding from the cat (why does my cat love marshmallows? is that a thing?). I bought lots and lots of them in a kind of bulk size because I think they are the answer to all my problems, but Kraft also makes a Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits sort of thing that they sell in grocery stores. I think it’s gluten-free, but I had a heck of a time finding good information. And anyway I needed an excuse to order a normal person’s lifetime supply of them.

Then I went about boxing up many, many dozens of Christmas cookies for all of the people who work for my husband in his place of business. They’re all such nice people & they don’t expect it & I hope it makes them feel special. Cookies are magic like that.

Kraft boxes, wraffia, and large baking cups. That’s it. That’s all I needed to pretty it all up. I widened the base of each paper baking cup with my fingers, spreading outward, then placed 2 to 3 cookies in each cup, and stacked another baking cup on top until the stack was near the top. Close the box, secure it with some wraffia, and make someone smile.

Turn on all the Christmas lights and crank up the Perry Como. Go make someone smile this holiday season.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 cookies


1 (16-ounce) box gluten-free chocolate cake mix, or 1 recipe Make-Your-Own Chocolate Cake Mix (page 191 of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy)

5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 extra-large eggs (120 g) at room temperature, beaten

1 cup (112 g) chopped roasted almonds

1 1/2 cups (60 g) mini freeze-dried marshmallows


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the cake mix and whisk to break up any lumps. Add the butter and eggs, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be thick. Add the almonds and marshmallows, and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout, handling as little as possible so the marshmallows stay whole.

  • Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven until just set, about 9 minutes. Allow to cool until firm on the baking sheet until firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of my new cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. You’ll find a whole chapter on Make-Your-Own Mixes, many more ways to use those mixes, plus all your old favorites, made quick & easy!

If you liked this recipe, you'll love my new book!

Gluten-Free Small Bites

100 irresistible one-bite recipes—for everything from parties to portable meals

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