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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.

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 on a Shoestring [Second Edition]:

125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap

Amazon.com Barnes & Noble IndieBound.com

Comments are closed.

  • Ritamae
    December 23, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    I just got your second book. I made chocolate donuts and was in heaven. I bought the little donut machine you suggested. Got it at Kohls for $13.00. I would love to make some apple fritters donuts have your tried that?. Thank you again. Rita Macintire

    • gfshoestring
      December 24, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      Hi, Rita,
      I’d take a look through the Recipe Index on the blog. I have a recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts that I think you’ll like.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Heather
    December 21, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    You always find a way to make me giggle-snort (Except they probably don’t freeze-dry their own food. Never mind.) while I learn all sorts of useful GF wonderfulness. Thank you for your sites your books, and your good cheer.

    • gfshoestring
      December 24, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      A good giggle snort, Heather, and I’m good for the day. I have always had a penchant for freeze-dried anything. I’m pretty sure I’d be dangerous with a personal astronaut-food-maker. Thanks for the giggle-snort! I take that as high praise. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carole
    December 21, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Now  I  guess I have one more thing to order. The mailman is regularly having to come up the drive, 700 ft. and steep and curvy.
    Found some caramel bits in my cupboard that I was going to use for caramel apples and was wondering if you ever tried them in cookies.Wonder if they would make a real mess when baked. Found out the hard way yesterday  to always use parchment paper.
    Have over 200 cookies baked and now have a new way to package them. Thanks.
    Need Better Batter to get there flour mix back in stock as I’m running low, maybe I’ll try your method and just buy 25 pounds at a time.

  • kclark
    December 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    I always think I will be as cool as you and bake a bunch of cookies and box them like that.  Then I run out of time…then I run out of stamina…then I just run and run.  Run Forest Run.  I wish I were as cool as you.  

    However, I am bringing GF dessert from your site (still deciding which one) to our friend’s house on Christmas at their request (they thank you from the bottom of their stomachs and the tops of their sweet tooths (it is a word now, I swear)).

    I just wanted to take this moment to thank you, Nikki, for making my Christmas good and safe (GF bread rolls, cookies and other tastey treats).  

    You are like my little gift under the tree.

    Merry Merry

  • Margaret
    December 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Now if I could just find a way to get a delivery of  those marshmallows from Amazon by this afternoon, I would be a happy baker. Today is baking day in this house–5 kinds of cookies, 2 candies, Milky Way cake made as cupcakes, and chocolate chip banana bread.  But I would love to add these to the list.  Alas, that will have to wait.  but I am sure loving the idea of this recipe.  Thank you for providing so many delicious goodies for us!

  • Pat Flanagan
    December 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    I was lucky enough to receive one of these boxes on my desk yesterday! They were all so good I hid them in the pantry when I got home. Too good to share with kids!

    • gfshoestring
      December 24, 2012 at 6:52 PM

      So glad you enjoyed them, Pat!! And I know you wel enough to know that you wouldn’t say that if it weren’t true. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carol Collett
    December 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I’m making these right now for an office Christmas party this afternoon. Can’t wait to taste them!! :D

  • Dgulino11
    December 21, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Where do you get mini freeze dried marshmallows ? I have only ever seen the Kraft mini’s but the are puffy not freeze dried.

    • gfshoestring
      December 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      The Kraft brand is called “Mallow Bits,” Dgulino. I ordered another brand on amazon. There’s a link in the post!
      xoxo Nicole

    • AmyQ
      December 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM

       I’ve found the Kraft mini’s near the hot chocolate at Walmart :)

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