I’m always a fan of eating my drinks.
Or drinking my cookies.
However you want to call it, we’re talking pina colada in cookie form.
I know that Cinco de Mayo was yesterday, but feel free to keep your fiesta going with these. I will.
Let me count the ways these little golden nuggets of sunshine brightened my day:
They came together in one bowl with a spoon and no mixer is required.
They use a cup of cake mix, virtually guaranteeing a successful result.
They are soft, light, and fluffy; yet chewy.
The hidden surprises of dried fruit add some lovely texture to all that lightness and fluffiness.
This is a small batch recipe, making only 1 dozen cookies, which is a blessing. No one needs 3 or 4 dozen cookies that are all the same. Well, I don’t.
And they make use of one of my favorite food inventions: flattened bananas.
I am sorry if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s. You can try using banana chips (the hard, disc-like chips), soak them in water until they soften, press out the water into a paper towel, dice and use them in the cookies.
I love dehydrated bananas and they’re about the only reason I will bother firing up my dehydrator anymore. Very few foods are worth a 12 hour wait and aroma wafting through the house for day(s).
I don’t really want to smell kale chips for 12 hours but the scent of warm, roasting bananas is another story.
However, for $1.29 for 6 large, flat slabs of flattened bananas, it’s a no-brainer to just buy them.
The flattened bananas are so incredibly sweet you’d think they were bathed in sugar, but no. The ingredients are: bananas.
The natural banana sugars concentrate and intensity in the flattening process, which is what happens when I dehydrate bananas; and I suspect Trader Joe’s dehydrates these, too.
Whatever method they use in making those bananas taste the way they do, I am grateful.
I paid homage by putting the bananas to use in cookies.
I also added dried pineapple bits, golden raisins, coconut flakes, and white chocolate chips.
I didn’t add rum but thought about it.
Pina Colada White Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies
Makes 1 dozen cookies (I got 13). Double the recipe by using nearly the full box of cake mix and doubling all other measurements.
1/4 cup butter (half of one stick), softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup yellow cake mix (this is a couple tablespoons shy of half an 18.25 ounce box ofcake mix)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour* (range from 2 to 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/3 cup diced dried fruit mixture (I used flattened bananas, candied dried pineapple, golden raisins; all diced small. A “tropical fruit medley” would be perfect)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl combine the softened butter, egg, vanilla and stir by hand or with a mixer until combined. You don’t have to “cream” it, just stir to blend and it’s okay if there are some butter “blobs”. Add the cake mix and stir until batter is smooth. Add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, as needed to help solidify the dough. *The more flour used, the more cake-like and less chewy the cookies will be; add as little as needed to keep the cookies more cookie-like if you prefer chewy cookies. You may not need to add any flour at all.
Fold in the coconut flakes, dried fruit, white chocolate chips, and place the mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes. Do not skip this step. Chilled dough spreads less during the baking process and this dough must be chilled before baking.
Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop 1-inch domed balls on a Silpat-lined, parchment paper-lined, or cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, allowing for adequate spacing. These cookies do not spread much and retain a puffier appearance (and the more flour added, the more they will retain a domed appearance). Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until cookies are barely browned on the bottoms. Do not judge the doneness by the tops; look at the bottoms. The tops will stay light but the bottoms will brown. They make look a bit loose on the tops after 10 minutes but they will continue to cook on the sheets after you remove the from the oven and will firm up as they cool. Do not overbake. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets before attempting to move them. Cookies will keep for a week on the countertop in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Gather the ingredients. The cake mix keeps these light, fluffy, and is a time-saver.
Everything goes into one bowl. You can skip the banana and use other types dried fruit such as a dried fruit medley, a tropical fruit mix, extra candied pineapple, apricots, extra golden raisins, dried peaches, or whatever you have.
Grab one spoon and stir.
Not many dishes because everything is contained in one bowl. Love that.
Bake up your pina coladas. While you wait, you could actually make a pina colada of the liquid variety.
Sounds like a good idea, right? Then you’ll have a pina colada ready and waiting for washing down your pina colada cookies.
Scott said these were the best cookies I’ve ever made.
However, he has a thing for desserts that tastes like drinks.
We got pretty tipsy from rum cake about 10 years ago in Grand Cayman. Do you know how much cake you have to eat to get drunk from it? Okay, don’t answer that.
In our cake-gorging defense, the free cake samples are laced with extra rum in the hopes people will buy cake. It reminds me of touring vineyards and signing up for more wine-of-the-month clubs than I should admit.
The rum cake samples worked because I bought the cake but unfortunately when I got it home, it wasn’t nearly as good as the free samples were that day in Grand Cayman.
I have such fond memories of that day, and that cake, that I created Rum Cake Balls (no-bake, vegan, GF)
Coconut Peanut Butter Magic Cake Bars – yellow cake mix, coconut, white chocolate chips make these bars similar to the cookies and the bars are my favorite dessert of 2012
Coconut Oatmeal Toffee Cookies – also a small batch (1 dozen) cookie recipe, one bowl, and no mixer required
Dark Rum Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – I find alcohol in cookies makes them thinner, extra soft, and pliable
Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – no alcohol in these, just plenty of strawberry flavor and very soft and light from the cake mix
Mango and White Chocolate Chip Cookies – Similar to using alcohol, using frozen mango chunks kept them on the thinner side, chewy, and moist
I have an arsenal of smoothie recipes intended to be replicas of some of my favorite beach drinks. Of course, you can add rum, Malibu, Gran Marnier, vanilla vodka, marshmallow vodka or something fun. I recommend it and can you make me one while you’re at it?
Here are a couple ideas:
Pineapple Banana & Coconut Cream Smoothie
Have you ever made cake mix cookies?
I made strawberry cake mix cookies and I find that cake mix cookies turn out light, fluffy, soft, chewy, and almost delicate. They are the opposite of compost cookies, i.e lead balloons.
Sometimes I love lead balloons because of their density and richness, but lighter and softer is a nice change especially for spring, and Scott loved these.
Do you like pina coladas?
I adore them. I can suck down 300 empty calories so incredibly fast it’ll make your head spin. Or peach-pina coladas or mango coladas. Put me on a beach with a fruit colada and I don’t want to ever leave.
Have a great week!
Thanks for the Special K Granola Bars Giveaway entries
Hi Averie! This recipe looks so delicious! I shared this on my 37 Delicious White Chocolate Recipes Round up here: http://kristendukephotography.com/37-delicious-white-chocolate-recipes/#comments
I keep seeing your blog and I just had to stop by and take a look. I am so glad I did! Your blog is awesome and these cookies look amazing! I cannot wait to try them. I have a mild obsession with coconut.
I definitely am going to subscribe, I can’t wait to see what other creations you post for me to drool over! I recently started a blog and I’d love for you to stop by and check it out. Subscribe if you’d like! New blog friends makes me :)
Seeing your pictures makes me have cravings! Everything looks scrumptious!
I have never made cake mix cookies, but I looooooove pina coladas!
These sound amazing, another creative dessert from the dessert queen! :-) Great pics too, love the color and lighting.
Thanks, Christine! It was an overcast day and I was shooting these pale cookies…interesting to say the least!
There are so many reasons to love this recipe and I must get my hands on those TJ’s bananas asap!
You have to try them & thanks for the pin!
These look so good and something that could be whipped up pretty fast. I will have to try those flattened bananas.
extremely fast! As in less than 5 mins!
I love cake mix cookies, and I especially love this twist!! And how I wish there was a trader joe’s here…
This sounds delectable. I too am a big fan of eating my drinks!
We don’t have a TJ’s nearby, and yes I am very sad about that. :( That’s one heck of a flavor combo, though! I dig it. :)
I have been making a lot of cake mix cookies lately, mu husband loves them! We made dark chocolate ones with crushed recees or snickers or rolos…nice and healthy :)
I love the way you think…and cook :)
Do I like pina coladas? I love it! As well as sun, beach, and sea! I miss TJ… I buy banana chips but it’s different from what TJ sells.
Banana chips are so inferior (sorry) to the flattened bananas. If you’re ever near a TJs, you have to try them. And buy in bulk. You will be in heaven!
Whtie chocolate is my favorite! I found some relatively cheap vegan white chocolate chips at Amazon and have totally been hoarding them! These look delicious. I have never tried the dried banana at TJ’s. I will have to try it sometime.
They are heavenly…you must try them!
Good find on the vegan white choc chips.
Haha… there’s nothing like the smell of fresh dehydrated kale on a chilly afternoon? ;) Yep, I’d rather smell bananas or some other fruit like apples!
Love the cake mix cookies, and I agree with you, cake mix basically sets you up for guaranteed success in recipes.
Yeah who wants to smell garlic on the kale chips at like 8am or whatever…not me!
cake mix basically sets you up for guaranteed success in recipes. <--- YES!
These look to die for. I love cake batter cookies!!!
These look amazing! So beautiful and sunny — I love cake mix cookies! :)
These look awesome! I am super into bananas lately. Been making banana soft serve a la Gena http://www.choosingraw.com/banana-soft-serve/ and just loving it! We use bananas in a ton of foods, so why not some delicious cookies, too? TJ’s is right next to the beach, to which we are headed in about 20 minutes, so I think we will make a stop and see about picking some of those bad boys up!
How’s the weather in SD? In Santa Cruz, it is a gorgeous, no cloud in the sky, 80 degree day! Happy Sunday! :-)
It’s hit and miss here with the sun near the coast. It may be nicer inland but it’s very cool and windy. NOT a beach day unless you want to wear 2 sweatshirts and long pants and get sand blown in your face…Lol Your weather sounds way better!
Enjoy the bananas…and the beach!
Averie!! These look so good! And I obviously LOVE the addition of cake mix! What I love most is that they are so thick + puffy. Yum I’ll take one or three of them with a tall frosty pina colado plese :)
the couple tablespoons of AP flour I added really seemed to make them puffier…b/c I did some other trials and not using it and far less puffy. It’s amazing what 2 tbsp of flour can do and how it can change results!
I am obssesed with the JUST BANANAS!
I travel with them and love to eat them with PB in a sandwich. I didn’t think to use them in cookies. Great idea!
I roll them up with PB in the middle, fruit roll up style. Love them like that!
Me too! But I add chocolate chips too!
Oh wow… banana… flattened. Be still my heart. I’ve been crazy for banana lately, this stuff would be so good just to chew on. Or make cookies with, of course!
These look so good! I’m going to have to try them :)
Love piña coladas so I know I’ll love those cookies! I also remember rum cake samples in Grand Cayman and the Bahamas–that cake is indeed an alcohol sponge….and I ended up buying one to take home as well. I made the mustard yesterday and it was spicier than I anticipated (WOW!) so I added more honey and a splash of macadamia nut oil to mellow it a little. I also used white balsamic vinegar and added turmeric for a little more color. It’s good stuff and will clear the sinuses! I’ve been dipping asparagus spears in it today.
that cake is indeed an alcohol sponge = YES! perfect description
And until one makes the mustard, you don’t really know what you’re in for, right! It packs a punch. I am not one to say something is really spicy unless it is (I don’t consider myself ‘wimpy’ in that variety) and it’s definitely spicy! Sounds like you mellowed it out a bit and it will mellow (somewhat) over time in the fridge.
I have never seen flattened bananas before … way cool :-)
Oh and they are so tasty!
Yes, I love pina coladas! And they’re such a holiday drink… There’s something about drinking them that makes you imagine sitting on a beach, with your feet dug into the sand, a breeze on your face and the sun going down over the horizon. Absolute heaven!
I haven’t ever made cake mix cookies, but they sound light and fluffy!
They are so easy & foolproof, too!
These sound amazing and the texture looks perfect!
The texture is great and with cake mix cookies, they turn out great every time.
okay, ALL I can think of now, after seeing your question “do you like pina coladas?” is “…and getting caught in the rain…” from the Pina Colada Song. ;)
Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffet. Cue it up baby and makes me want to buy an airline ticket :)
Eating your drinks or drinking your cookies – either way, I’m in.
Have you ever used run extract? I’ve got some that would be great in this. And there are so many GF cake mixes. Love this recipe!
Those bananas were one of my favorite field snacks back in the day – smeared with a little p, of course.
I think you would love these. I know you don’t like coconut & you can totally skip that and yes, rum extract. Have used it in the past but a little goes a long way (like mint) and I think I tossed my last bottle of it in a move or it went missing; had had some for years and years. You’re right; perfect application in this recipe.
Bananas…I know neither of us just “love” bananas as is, but these flattened ones are sooooo good. And yes, I make log rolls with peanut butter smeared in them!
Great looking recipe and easy too. Gotta love that! I bet adding in just a tiny splash of rum would be a great layer of flavor for a fun pool party.
You are so right or my friend Katie just commented rum extract would be great. And yes, that too. Or the real thing :)
Happy cinco de mayo (yesterday!) i bet socal was a huge party!
It was a *week long* excuse to drink. I think they’re gearing up for Memorial Day weekend now :) a few weeks early.
This is such a great flavor for cake mix cookies. I have a special place in my heart for boxed cake mix!
You know it girl. It saves time and there’s a reason the cake mix companies stay in business…they work :)
These are little bits of heaven! Yum!
I adore Pina Coladas. These cookies look amazing, and I am super impressed that Trader Joe’s sells flattened bananas. Who would have thought of preparing that, putting it into a package, and selling it? Brilliant!
I don’t know how they do it so cheap…6 bananas for $1.29 that they process and package. Compared to most other dried fruit, huge value!