These soft, chewy snickerdoodle cookies are the ultimate, doctored cake mix hack. Flavor-packed and rolled in cinnamon sugar, these cookies are my favorite, easy recipe dupe.
'Tis the season for cookie exchanges and quests for high-yield, low-ingredient cookie recipes. Bring on all the easy recipes and pantry hacks. Enter soft, chewy, snickerdoodle cake mix cookies. To look at them, you would never know the difference between these cake mix snickerdoodles and cookies made from scratch. Add a couple of bonus ingredients to the cake mix (and delete some), roll the dough in cinnamon sugar, and bake. Then stop panicking about the upcoming cookie exchange because you have a delicious cookie to show up with.
Why use a cake mix instead of baking from scratch?
Because it's easier and saves time, but also because lots of people get very nervous when it comes to baking. I know plenty of people who are fabulous cooks who hate to bake. Baking has a reputation for needing exact measurement because of dry-to-liquid ratios and leavening agents. Using a cake mix eliminates a lot of that stress. Leavening agents are already added, salt content is accounted for, and flour is already factored in. All in all, it removes measuring most of the ingredients that can really make a recipe go sideways. It's also a delicious alternative.
Doctoring Up the Cake Mix
Anytime I prepare a recipe with a doctored cake mix, I have a few go-to ingredients that I add or delete. Pudding mix and flavor extract are my staple 'adds'. Water is my typical 'delete' (or decrease). A chewy cookie has more fats to keep it soft and chewy, so fats were increased, dry ingredients were increased, and other liquids were decreased.
Soft Chewy Snickerdoodle Cake Mix Cookies Ingredients:
- Vanilla Pudding: Adding pudding mix adds more flavor, improves the texture, and increases the yield. It also helps balance the dry-to-liquid ingredient ratio.
- Sour Cream: Moisture and richness. Sour cream is one of the fattiest dairy products out there. Fat shortens gluten strands and makes everything softer. Fat also doesn't evaporate with heat like water does and retains moisture longer.
- Mexican Vanilla: First, I add this for flavor. Mexican vanilla carries the flavor through a recipe better than anything I've ever used before. Every recipe I have used it in has turned out delicious. I also love Mexican vanilla because vanilla gets expensive, and cookie exchange cookie batches tear through my vanilla supply. Mexican vanilla is available in (2) 33.8 oz bottles for about $16 total on Amazon.
- Butter: I increased the amount of butter (again for fat purposes) from ⅓ cup to ½ cup.
- Eggs: I DECREASED the number of eggs. Plenty of fat was added with the butter and sour cream, and I needed better balance between my dry and liquid ratio.
- Water: I ELIMINATED the water from this recipe. Cookie dough is thicker than cake batter so water was not necessary. Water also evaporates, so I increased the fats to retain moisture.
- Cinnamon/Sugar: A cookie isn't a snickerdoodle without cinnamon sugar.
Mix, Refrigerate, and Roll (Tips and Tricks)
- To make this snickerdoodle cookie dough, first I added eggs, butter, Mexican vanilla, and sour cream to the cake mix. Then I added a package of Instant Vanilla Pudding mix (dry ingredients only). The pudding thickened up the dough and made it a more workable consistency for cookies.
- After mixing the dough, I refrigerated the cookie dough for 45 minutes. Refrigeration is key because the dough is still softer than regular cookie dough. The longer the cookie dough cools the better, but keep it in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
- Before removing the cookies from the refrigerator, prepare the cinnamon sugar in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- Use parchment paper on your cookie sheets and have your oven preheated to 350°F. Cookies will go into the oven as fast as possible.
- Spray your cookie scoop with cooking spray before scooping any cookies. I used a 1 ¼" scoop.
- Begin scooping the cookie dough as soon as it comes out of the fridge. Drop the scooped cookie directly into the cinnamon sugar and roll it around. Coat the whole scooped cookie dough ball in cinnamon sugar, and then place on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
- Immediately move the cookie sheet to the oven (as fast as it's filled) and bake for 8-10 minutes. Check the cookies at 8 minutes. Remove as soon as the edges appear to be cooked, do not wait for them to turn golden brown, pull them out. Overcooking them will compromise the softness.
- Enjoy! Better yet, impress everyone at the next cookie exchange but be sure to save some for yourself! 🙂
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Soft Chewy Snickerdoodle Cake Mix Cookies
- 1 package Pillsbury Golden Butter Cake Mix/Yellow Cake Mix
- ½ cup butter, softened ½ cup = 1 stick
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding (by Jell-O)
- 2 teaspoon Pure Mexican Vanilla Extract
- Combine cake mix, eggs, softened butter, Mexican vanilla, and sour cream, mixing in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
- Add the Instant Vanilla Pudding to the dough and mix again until well combined.
- Place mixing bowl with dough in the refrigerator and chill dough for at least 45 minutes. Dough can be left in the refrigerator longer, it will be easier to scoop.
- Preheat oven to 350°F while cookie dough chills.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spray cookie scoop with cooking spray.
- Begin scooping the cookie dough as soon as it comes out of the fridge. Drop the scooped cookie directly into the cinnamon sugar topping and roll it around. Coat the whole scooped cookie dough ball in cinnamon sugar, and then place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.Place scooped dough about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet and immediately transfer to preheated oven.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes (varies by oven) on the middle racks of the oven. Cookies will be done when edges appear cooked. Do not wait for the cookies to turn a golden color, pull them out of the oven as soon as the edges appear to be ready.