Red velvet crinkle cookies will delight your sweetheart and ruin your clean kitchen

afterpiccookies FTWBy Caroline Brewton


This recipe is adapted from the Duncan Hines red velvet crinkle cookie recipe.

6 teaspoons melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoons cornstarch
1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix
2 large eggs
Parchment paper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line ungreased baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix powdered sugar and corn starch together in a separate container from the other ingredients. Mix together the butter, cake mix and eggs until all lumps are gone and a dough forms. Roll the dough into small balls and cover in the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Set on cookie sheet and bake for 9 – 11 minutes. Don’t worry if they appear puffy; they’ll deflate after cooling. Allow them to cool for five minutes and serve in the dining room.


My grandmother had this saying:

“A good cook never has a clean kitchen.”

Well, I like to think I’m a good cook, but I’m also a neat freak. I knew from the beginning that trying to make cookies from a cake mix had the potential to go horribly wrong. After all, cake mix is infinitely more runny than cookie dough.

When I looked at the recipe, I saw no additional ingredients that I could add to the cake batter mixture that would fix the problem. How would the cookies maintain their shape? Wouldn’t that make a huge mess?

Knowing that cornstarch was a thickening agent, instead of adding it to the powdered sugar like the directions said, I added it to the batter.

That was mistake No. 1.

The consistency of the dough almost immediately became thick and hard to mix, bending my cheap mixing spoon in half as I tried to drag it through. Frustrated and unwilling to waste any more cheap spoons (I’m a college kid. I’m not made out of spoons), I plunged my hands into the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients myself.

It was like something out of a nightmare. As soon as I sank my hands in, I knew I made another huge mistake. The entire mixture glommed onto them like my flesh was some kind of bizarre carb magnet. On my hands, the dough had roughly the shade and appearance of fake blood, and I was caked in it. I looked like a character in a B horror movie.

This would have been OK if I had already set out the powdered sugar to roll the dough balls in, but I hadn’t. I knew I would have to clean off my hands in order to proceed to the next step.

Waste not, want not. I didn’t want to waste good dough but I also didn’t want it all over my sink handles. I managed to unstick as much of the dough as I could and put it back into the bowl, but that didn’t end up being much, so I tried to lick off the rest.

I did enjoy the dough. It had a nice flavor, but licking was an ineffective strategy for removing the bits that were stuck to my skin. In fact, all I managed to do was make a bigger mess of myself. Now, my lips, hands and nose were covered in thick, goopy red dough. Frustrated with my inability to clean my murderous-looking hands and face, I had to resort to using half a bottle of Dawn Powerclean before I was free of the stuff. It was not ideal.

After that, everything went fairly smoothly, although the powdered sugar got everywhere. I rolled and placed the cookies on the parchment paper-covered sheet and popped them in the oven. I only baked them for the minimum nine minutes, and they turned out beautifully. So beautiful, in fact, that it was hard to see how such perfectly-formed and innocent-looking cookies had not only dyed my hands and face red, but resulted in the powdered-sugaring of my entire kitchen.

In the end, I was the agent of my own destruction. If I hadn’t added the cornstarch too early, I would have avoided the whole mess. In fact, by trying to pre-empt the destruction of my perfectly neat and clean kitchen, I sealed my own fate. I can’t tell you what will happen if you follow the directions. I didn’t. But using my methods will yield perfect cookies.

You just have to be willing to get your hands dirty to get them.

Difficulty rating:

Making the cookies is easy and fun. Cleaning up the cookies’ mess is neither.