05/18/2011 11:51 am ET | Updated Jul 18, 2011

Snacking 101: How to Dress Up Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies


In my group of friends, I am decidedly not the best baker. While my roommates nonchalantly whip up Oreo-crusted cheesecakes and white chocolate raspberry cookies, I happily assume the role of taste-tester or batter-off-the-spoon licker and let them do their thing. I'm far less impressive when it's my turn to make dessert -- my chocolate chip cookies from-a-mix pale in comparison to most of their creations.

To try to get out of my boring cookie rut, I stopped eating the cookie dough long enough to try different dessert combinations that don't require much more work. Here are some easy ways I've found to dress up a plain old cookie that will trick people into thinking it didn't come from a box, plus an over-the-top recipe for Oreo-Stuffed chocolate chip cookies [editor's note: damn!]:

Cookie Dough-Topped Brownies (shown above)
This is the most deliciousness for the least effort. Whip up brownie batter and cookie dough (both can be from a boxed mix or from scratch). Put the brownie batter in a pan as usual, and then glob the dough on top. Using a knife (or your finger), swirl it around a bit until it covers most of the pan, and bake from 30 to 35 minutes. The result will be a hybrid brownie/blondie and the world's best combination of flavors.

Monkey Chocolate Chip Cookies
A variation on two great things: cookies and banana bread! Add one cup of ripe bananas to your cookie mix; the riper they are, the more flavor you get. And hey, fruit in your dessert means they qualify as healthy... sort of.

Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Since chocolate chip cookies taste good with pretty much anything, you can add whatever candy you have lying around into the mix with great results. A lot of crazy awesome people on the Internet have experimented with delicious variations: Reese's stuffed cookies, Rolo stuffed cookies, s'mores stuffed cookies, and my favorite, Oreo stuffed cookies. See the recipe below, and hoard at least two or three before offering to share. (You'll thank me later.)


Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Picky Palate

2 bags Betty Crocker cookie mix
2 eggs
2 sticks softened butter
1 bag Double Stuf Oreos


2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag Double Stuf Oreos

Preheat oven to 350°F.

If making dough from scratch, combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until mixed well. Slowly add a mixture of flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips until combined. If using cookie mix, prepare the dough as directed and stir until mixed well. Using a cookie scoop (or your hands), take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo. Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of the Oreo. Scoops should be around one inch in diameter. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo is enclosed with dough.

Place onto a lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9 to 13 minutes, or until cookies are baked to your liking. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Sarah Leibach of Small Kitchen College.

Sarah Leibach is a senior at The George Washington University and often eats so much cookie dough in the process of baking that she's too full to immediately enjoy the final product.