Salted Cashew and Milk Chocolate Whippersnapper Cookies with Joanne Fluke

DO NOT preheat your oven quite yet — this cookie dough needs to chill before baking.

1 box (approximately 18 ounces) chocolate cake mix, the size you can bake in a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan (I used Duncan Hines)
1 large egg, beaten (it’s okay to just whip it up in a glass with a fork)
2 cups Cool Whip, thawed (measure this – a tub of Cool Whip contains a little over 3 cups and that’s way too much!)
1 cup milk chocolate chips (Andrea used a 6-ounce package of Nestle Mini Morsels)
1/2 cup salt cashews, finely chopped (measure AFTER chopping)
1/2 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar in a separate small, shallow bowl (you don’t have to sift it unless it’s got big lumps)
18 to 24 Maraschino cherries without stems, drained and cut in half

Place approximately HALF of the cake mix in a large bowl.

Whisk the egg in a medium-size bowl.

Stir in the 2 cups of thawed Cool Whip.

Add the egg and Cool Whip mixture to the cake mix in the large bowl. Stir only until everything is combined. You don’t want to stir all the air out of the Cool Whip.

Sprinkle the milk chocolate chips on top.

Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of chopped cashews on top of the milk chocolate chips. Gently stir until they’re combined. Again, don’t over-stir!

Sprinkle in the rest of the cake mix and fold it in with a rubber spatula, stirring only until everything is combined. The object here is to keep as much air in the batter as possible. Air is what will make your cookies soft and have that melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Hannah’s Note: This dough is very sticky. It’s much easier to work with if you chill it before you try to form the cookies. Just cover the bowl and stick it in the refrigerator for an hour.

When your cookie dough has chilled for an hour, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position. DO NOT take your chilled cookie dough out of the refrigerator until after your oven has preheated to the proper temperature.

While your oven is preheating, prepare your cookie sheets by spraying them with Pam or another nonstick baking spray, or lining them with parchment paper and spraying that.

When your oven is ready, take your dough out of the refrigerator. Using a teaspoon from your silverware drawer, drop the dough by rounded teaspoonful into the bowl of powdered sugar. Roll the dough around with your fingers to form powdered sugar coated cookie dough balls.

Place the dough balls on your prepared cookie sheets, no more than 12 cookies for a standard-size sheet.

Press a half cherry, rounded side up, on top of each cookie.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: Work with only one cookie dough ball at a time. If you drop more than one in the bowl of powdered sugar, they’ll stick together.

Andrea’s Note: Make only as many cookie balls as you can bake at one time and then return the dough to the refrigerator. I have a double oven so I prepare 2 sheets of Whippersnapper Cookies at once.

Bake the Salted Cashew and Milk Chocolate Whippersnapper Cookies at 350 degrees F., for 10 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes or so, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely. (This is a lot easier if you line your cookie sheets with parchment paper — then you don’t need to lift the cookies one by one. All you have to do is grab one end of the parchment paper and pull it, cookies and all, onto the wire rack.)

Once the cookies are completely cool, store them between sheets of waxed paper in a cool, dry place. (Your refrigerator is cool, but it’s definitely not dry!)

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen soft, chewy cookies, depending on cookie size.