Rainy Day Cookies

Memorial Day Weekend!

A three-day break from work.

The unofficial start of summer.

Time for barbecues and picnics and ripe peaches and watermelon and strawberry pie.


Here in New York, it’s 53 degrees and cloudy and windy.

So my plans for a hefty slice of cold strawberry pie after a burger and coleslaw had been thwarted. (I promise to tell you how to make the strawberry pie though once the temperatures rise).

All we can think about are movies on the couch and a big bowl of popcorn.

And cookies.

Gray and cold days scream for cookies.

Trouble was, I had planned on making pie. The strawberries were washed and sitting in the fridge, ready to be baked into a slice of summer. The butter was cubed for the pie crust.

So, we improvise.

Remember my pantry staples? Yup this is why you have them.

If you have cake mix, vegetable oil and eggs, you can make cookies.


All you need are

  • 1 box cake mix (I used dark chocolate)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

This gives you a basic cookie dough. Then you can mix in whatever you want.

For super decadent chocolate gooeyness, add chocolate chips to chocolate cake mix, or peanut butter chips for a play on Reese’s cups. Vanilla cake mix plays well with chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Or coconut if you want a real taste of summer.

I think that one of the most perfect combinations, besides peanut butter and chocolate, is chocolate and hazelnuts. Nutella? One of the world’s most perfect foods.

To make the cookies, preheat oven to 350.

Combine the cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. The mix will be really thick. It will almost resemble the Oreo crumble on dirt cups. If you never made dirt cups as a kid go talk to your mom right now about why she deprived you of such an iconic childhood treat.


When the ingredients are combined, stir in the mix in of your choice. I used about a half cup of hazelnuts, I think. I don’t really measure. I just kind of throw them in and stir and add more if I need to. I just go for no cookie being left without nuts.

Spoon out the batter onto a greased cookie sheet. You can make the cookies any size you want. A little smaller than a ping pong ball gives you two dozen cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.


Your kitchen smells like chocolate. Melted, warm chocolate.

Brew a pot of coffee or some tea.

And settle into the couch for a 3 O’clock coffee break.

(My dad has coffee and a cookie at 3 everyday. He passed the habit to me. My body knows when it’s 3 O’clock)

These cookies are like a mix between a cookie and a brownie. Cakey and fudgey, but chewy and crunchy.

The gray skies don’t seem like such a damper on the weekend anymore.

The easiest scones ever. Period

I know.

You saw the word scone and you thought, yea okay, Martha Stewart. I’m really going to make scones.

Well, really.


You are.

Well, I am.

And then you’ll see how easy they are and then you will, too.

You’re thinking, scones? Why on earth will I ever want or need to make those? I can grab one in the morning at Starbucks if I really want one, but when in my life will there be an occasion where me making scones will be necessary or appropriate.

First, making these is cheaper than buying a breakfast pastry on your way to work.

Second, making scones is kind of impressive. I just made these for mother’s day and both my boyfriend’s mom (future mother-in-law ladies, pay attention here) and grandmother  (who is the most amazing home cook) went nuts for these.

Third, when someone asks you what you’re up to and you say making scones, you just sound so domestic. You might not know how to do your laundry without shrinking your blouse or how to get rid of that weird ring around the bathroom sink, but you say you’re making scones and you are a domestic diva in the minds of all of your friends.

And fourth. One word. Brunch. Scones are always appropriate and necessary at brunch.

But what about all that kneading and rolling out the dough? I don’t have the space for that. You promised I could make all this in my tiny kitchen.

Guess what?

No rolling out dough.



This recipe is easy, almost foolproof. And you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen. And if you don’t, then once you buy these ingredients, you’ll have all the baking basics you will need to make many more wonderful sweets.

Preheat oven to 400.

Now I hate measuring and haven’t given you precise measurements until now. But baking is different than cooking. So here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar (depends on how sweet you want them)
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat buttermilk

The buttermilk is the only non basic ingredient. It’s like 2 bucks though. And you can make pancakes with it. And who doesn’t like pancakes.

So those are the ingredients for the basic scone dough.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Now, here is the trick to this recipe. This is the only important step in making these.


The butter needs to be cold. Really cold. Take it out of the fridge right before you are going to add it to the flour mixture. Cube it and toss it into the dry ingredients. The butter being cold will make the scones flaky and will give you these little buttery pockets to bite into.

If you’re fancy, you can pull out your pastry cutter to combine the butter and flour mixture. If you’re lazy, you can use your food processor to blend it all. If you’re like me, you know that your hands are the best tool. I just stick my hands in and start breaking the butter up into the flour. You want to end up with pea-size bits of dough.

Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Grab a spoon and mix until just combined.

The dough will be tacky and have a thick paste-like thickness.

This is your basic dough.

Now, you can go wild.

I added a handful of dried cranberries because I had them on hand. But raisins, dried apples, dried peaches, chopped hazelnuts, some chocolate chips or even just a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar will work. If you want, you can bake em off plain and slather em with strawberry jam, piping hot out of the oven so the jam melts into the buttery bites.

Once you have your mix-in mixed into the dough, scoop relatively even-sized blobs of dough onto a cook sheet. I roughly form them into a football shape. These won’t spread much, so you can plop them down fairly close together. I usually get about 8 scones out of this recipe.


I don’t go nuts about them looking perfect or being exactly the same size or shape. They will cook more evenly if they’re about the same size is all.

They take about 15 minutes. I check at the 13 minute mark and turn the pan if I need to.

Your kitchen is going to smell amazing.

These are not going to last long.

Brew a pot of coffee or some tea.

Pick out a witty British novel.

And enjoy.