OK, so it had to happen. We have been self-quarantined, except for a couple grocery runs since March 7…we could see what was coming straight across the country.

And up to today, I was doing fine. I wrote lesson notes and blog posts for my writing classes. I made too many bad Covid 19 masks and a few that were passable. I cleaned house. I started building a Quarantine cookbook, and I finally decided I had to get back to my own very significant (to me) writing project this morning.

Then it got so cold. And the snow fell and blew and the clouds hid the sun and I had a serious attack of quarantine fever. Not the one that gets you sent to the hospital, the kind that makes you search for something really fun.

That was just after I read a column by a lady who made cookies from a cake mix. “I have a cake mix,” I said. Well, not out loud. I looked….no chocolate cake mixes. But I did have two spice cake mixes. Yes, they were outdated. But I lived in Africa and a date on the bottom of the can or box meant very little, most times.

And I knew a spice cake mix had possibilities. The lady, whose column I had just read, said the recipe she was posting was made when cake mixes were 18 ounces, but not to worry about those 15 ounce mixes in our cupboards. She said just add another ¼ cup of flour to the two eggs and half cup of oil the recipe calls for, and bake them at 350 for about 9 minutes.

Then I remembered how my mother used to put raisins in hot water before putting them in her spice cookies. So I put a handful of dried raisins into a little glass cup and poured 2 tablespoons of water over them. Then I put that little dish in the microwave for a minute. Softening up those raisins, you know?

Meanwhile I put the outdated mix in my mixing bowl, the extra flour, and the dregs (about 2T.) of Bisquick (that I couldn’t throw away) because the wet raisins might need more flour, and added a handful of brown sugar because these were cookies and they need brown sugar. Now for the 2 eggs and half cup of oil. The batter looked incomplete and a little sad yet, for a happy quarantine cookie.

I remembered the M and M’s in a canister I had hidden under two other canisters, so I would not be tempted. And yes they were good because I tasted one, or two. Alright, I don’t know how many I tasted, but there was enough left to put a cup into the cookie dough. Along with the drained raisons.

But the cookies didn’t feel complete yet.  Ah yes, I had a jar of chopped walnuts in the cupboard, so I just threw in about a half cup. Now, I felt better. My Quarantine Cookies were coming together and they now merited capital letters.

I spooned 16 cookies on each of two greased cookie sheets and had enough left over for one more cookie I had to bake in a tiny pie tin.  I handed Jim a cookie almost right out of the oven and warned him they were hot. That didn’t keep him from devouring it as soon as it cooled enough to be touched. And I had one too. Not so bad for an out of date cake mix.

You could make your own cookies from any kind of regular cake mix. You don’t need the raisin thing, and you probably don’t have a dab of Bisquick you have to use up. But you might want to throw in some chocolate chips, or craisins, or chopped Andes mints if you have a chocolate cake mix. Use your imagination. After all, this is your chance to shake things up a bit and invent something new.

One thought on “Quarantine Cookies by Carol Brennan King

  1. That is so clever and ingenious! The quarantine cookbook must have a lot of fun stuff in it. If you want any recipes for delicious blueberry cake or a carrot and pineapple cake or a banana pineapple cake or pigs in the blanket done in a casserole or Pagash I am certainly more than happy to share all those with you for your book or whatever other recipes you might be interested in. Pagash is a Polish pizza which I’m sure you’ve heard of with mashed potatoes and buttery onions and cheddar and American cheese on a rectangle crust baked in the oven for only 20 minutes or so, it’s not low-calorie but a great comfort food on these days that we don’t have sun. I love experimenting in the kitchen.
    Wonderful read.


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