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  • Leigh

Split Decision: Naked Chocolate Cupcakes or Cookies? Both.

So my husband loves chocolate cupcakes. Naked ones (that is, with no frosting!). He also likes the kind that you make from a cake mix, probably because they're very sweet and what he remembers having as he was growing up. I'm not especially fond of cupcakes, particularly the kind without any frosting. I like cookies. Big, fat, chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and crunchy nuts in them. So what to do? I use a regular size boxed cake mix to make a dozen cupcakes and a dozen cookies. That way everyone is happy, and I don't have too many cupcakes or cookies. The recipes you'll see below are great for weeknights when you're busy, and the cupcakes and cookies can go in the oven with other things you're making for dinner. The cupcakes come out, well, like cupcakes made from a boxed cake mix. The cookies are better (but, of course, I'm biased in favor of cookies). They are soft and nicely studded with chocolate chips and slightly bitter walnuts--perfect for munching with a cup of tea after supper or as an accompaniment to a bowl of ice cream. If you'd like to add a little more zip to your cookies, add a quarter cup of dried tart cherries (or dried cranberries) to the batter along with the chocolate chips and walnuts before baking the cookies. The tart cherries make a nice contrast with the sweetness of the chocolate. Beware, though, someone who said he wanted cupcakes may want your cookies, too!

Naked Cupcakes and Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Cupcakes -- Makes 12

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of water

1/4 cup of canola oil

2 eggs

2 cups of cake mix from a regular size box (15-16 ounces, usually)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat the wells in a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray (or use cupcake liners and spritz them with a little spray). Whisk the water, oil and eggs until quite frothy. Whisk in the cake mix and divide the batter among the muffin wells. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached.

Chocolate Walnut Cookies -- Makes 12

1/4 cup of canola oil

1 egg

2 tablespoons of water

1 1/2 cups of cake mix (the rest of the box after you make the cupcakes)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of chocolate chips

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

1/4 cup of chopped dried tart cherries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, egg, and water. With a wooden spoon, stir in the cake mix and cinnamon until everything is combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried cherries, if you're using them. Scoop the batter by large tablespoons on to the prepared cookie sheet, forming 12 mounds and leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between the batter mounds. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until just barely set. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then remove them and let them finish cooling.

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