TREAT TUESDAY: TJs Baking Mix Pumpkin and Vanilla Cookies

Cut-out pumpkin cookies topped with piped Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter make for a comfortable fall evening (or morning!).

I had posted before about how T and I love to turn the Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix into a batch of cookies. We got the idea right off of the side of the box actually, and I had promised way back when I posted about it that if I ventured into trying it with any other mixes that I’d be back to report my results. Report: Yes, this appears to be universal with pretty much any box of cake mix, RMT’ers!

T helps me mix up a batch of Trader Joe's pumpkin cookie dough from their baking mix - just omit water!

A friend of mine tried making a batch of cut-out cookies with a box of the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix by simply omitting the water from the recipe on the box. She said the result was a dough that works well with both drop and cut-out cookies. I asked her to verify what I’d suspected to be the baking time for a sheet of cookies like this – 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes depending on the amount of cookies on the sheet, their size and the thickness – and she concurred. And what do you know, her “trick” was essentially what Pillsbury directs in how to turn their cake mix into cookies (omit the liquid). So given my previous success and my friend’s recent discovery, I decided to take a turn at it myself.

Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake & Baking Mix can make for a nice batch of vanilla sugar-style cookies. Just omit milk and remove part of the oil/butter recommended on the box.

I picked up one box of the same pumpkin mix my friend used and one box of Trader Joe’s basic Vanilla Cake & Baking Mix (see photos herein for the exact ones to buy). I figured if I was going for it I was going to see if this was a fluke for just the pumpkin mix or something that might work with all the TJ’s brand baking mixes.  So T and I mixed up the dough for the pumpkin cookies by omitting the water from the recipe, just like my friend did; for the vanilla batch, the liquid I omitted was the milk. I got a lovely, dense dough for the pumpkin batch that was extremely workable after brief refrigeration – I could either slice, roll, or drop-and-press the dough to make a variety of cookie types. To give you an idea, it was a gingerbread-type consistency for me post-refrigeration. I was thrilled with the results!

I made the vanilla cookie dough by omitting the milk; though this created a looser dough than I would have preferred, we still got a nice batch of plain vanilla cookies from our efforts. Next time I'll remove part of the fat in hopes this firms up the dough for more versatility and less spread.

As for the vanilla, well, not as great of results, but not a complete fail either. I got cookies but just not as versatile of a dough overall; it was very loose and oily. The cake mix calls for a half-cup vegetable oil OR melted butter. In my experience, butter makes a crunchier cookie than I prefer, so I almost always use oil or shortening instead. However, a half-cup of fat in any form I think just creates too loose of a dough, even after a lengthy refrigeration. So next time, I’ll dial down the prescribed oil to 1/3-cup and see how that goes.

But I did manage to get success with all kinds of cookies from both doughs, which made for several nights of bake-filled fun. I am just going to wrap this post up with a few photos of what we made and enjoyed.

And with that, I’m off to make strawberry and lemon cookies, and maybe I’ll make strawberry-lemon cookies, too. Here’s to hoping my luck continues!

Along with the plain vanilla rounds previously shown, we also made pumpkin rounds and cut-outs the first night of our cookie bake-a-thon.

The second night T and I made half-and-half pumpkin-vanilla cookies (well, attempted to... they look more like Yin-Yang halves than true halves).

On night three, T and I wrapped vanilla dough around cores of pumpkin dough and baked inside-out pumpkin-vanilla cookies.

Our final batch from the remains of both doughs involved marbling them together and dropping them onto the sheet for some simple rounds and rolling out some of it to make a couple of larger cut-outs (trains, of course!). This made for some of the better of the mixed-flavor pumpkin-vanilla cookies.

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2 responses to “TREAT TUESDAY: TJs Baking Mix Pumpkin and Vanilla Cookies

  1. I have never heard of this and totally want to try it now! Will remember this post for the tips and tricks when I try it! Thanks!

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