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Shortcut Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

by on October 12, 2009 · 299 comments

‘Tis the season for giveaways, and I have 3 copies of Camilla’s Saulsbury’s new book “Shortcut Cookies” to give to 3 of you. To win a copy of the book, just leave a comment with your favorite cooking or baking shortcut. I’ll pick 3 at random and email the winners between now and October 19. So you have a week to enter.

Shortcut Cookies 3.13.09.indd

With over 745 recipes for cookies starting with packaged doughs, mixes, and cereals, Shortcut Cookies is one of Camilla’s best books yet. And given her penchant for perfection, you can be sure anything Camilla’s tested will be delicious enough for the school functions, bake sales and friends.

Some stand-outs from the book include an Italian Cheesecake Bar made with refrigerated sugar cookie dough, ricotta cheese, and traditional Italian flavorings of orange, golden raisin and hazelnuts; Lemon Curled Swirled Cheesecake Bars made with a packaged lemon cake mix base; Mango Cream Bars, with a crust of crushed gingersnaps and cream cheese & fresh lime topping and a recipe called “Dad’s Double Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies” made up of a brown sugar doctored brownie mix and topped with Camilla’s homemade peanut butter frosting. My favorite chapter is always “Brownies” and Camilla has a bunch including Turkish Coffee Brownies, Whiskey Brownies and Aztec brownies which I will review very soon.

And finally, leave it to Camilla to take things to yet another level. Over on her blog Shortcut Cookies, she’s taking recipes from the book and making them with all-natural and gluten free mixes. And of course, she’s there to answer questions as well.

Now it’s time for you to win the book. As stated above, all you need to do is post your own cooking or baking related shortcut. I’ll be picking winners randomly.

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Published on October 12, 2009

{ 299 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie October 15, 2009 at 1:06 am

My favorite baking secret is to always use sugar/brown sugar that has been infused with the remnants of my used vanilla bean pods. I keep one stash of sugar for “baking only” and that’s the one I go to. Economical and delicious!

Heidi October 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

I take a really good brownie mix – like Ghriadelli – and then plop spoonfuls of peanut butter on top and swirl them around. It looks homemade so people assume they are!

Susie October 15, 2009 at 9:30 am

My new baking secret is “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”…. there is always fresh dough in the fridge for loaves, pizzas, sticky buns, you name it!! My family is so happy.

Lorie Smith October 15, 2009 at 11:33 am

My secret isn’t really a secret, I like to use cake mixes and make them seem homemade. :)

Jill October 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

I keep all my basic baking indgredients in a bin that sits on my pantry shelf. When it’s time to bake I take it out and have most of what I need right there. When I’m finished it all goes back in one trip.

Miss Poppy Dixon October 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Whenever I use a boxed mix, and it calls for water, I replace the water with something else. WIth lemon squares I use lemon juice, with brownies I use rum or kahlua, when I make red velvet cake I used pomegranite juice. It no longer tastes like a mix and the flavor is more intense.

Ashley October 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I make my own cookie dough rolls! Make cookie dough, roll into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze! They’re perfect for when you want one or two cookies but don’t want to make a whole batch!

Shari October 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm

one of my shortcuts is to use applesauce in place of oil. I have homemade applesauce & it is so much healthier than oil. I even got brave & tried it in something other than baking & it worked!!!

zentmrs October 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm

We love citrus in our home, and have citrus trees. I juice them and freeze them in ice cube trays. This way we always have fresh citrus for our lemon bars or key lime pie. Freezing the zest also works well!

Carla October 15, 2009 at 7:38 pm

My baking secret is to continually try new recipes and share them with neighbors and friends. Then they all think I’m just the best cook ever…really, it’s just that I want to try everyone’s new recipes and I always find a few keepers!

CaSaundra October 15, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Ooo I am dying to get my hands on a copy!

Marcia October 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I always start making cookie dough in Nov. and label and put it in the freezer for Dec. baking.

Joanna October 15, 2009 at 11:01 pm

I’ve only done this once before, but it got rave reviews: I replaced the oil and water in a cake mix with a pint of melted premium ice cream. I did chocolate cake with chocolate peanut butter ice cream, but the possibilities are endless!

Jen October 15, 2009 at 11:56 pm

My shortcut, I am sure many people know about, but my favorite is using an ice cream scoop for scooping cookie dough. The cookies come out all the same size and shape, plus scooping them is super easy! No need to use to spoons or your finger to get the dough out of the scoop with the release handle! :)

Jenny October 16, 2009 at 7:52 am

I add things to brownie mixes all the time – butter instead of oil, espresso powder, etc.

Sue October 16, 2009 at 10:00 am

I wish every home baker could have a digital kitchen scale for weighing ingredients. I finally got one this year and I can’t believe how much faster recipes come together, and there’s no frustration with having the correct measuring cups clean and handy. It’s also great for portioning out even amounts of batter for layer cakes, and for making evenly sized rolls and bagels.
I know this isn’t new to you Anna, but it was new to me this year and I’m so glad to finally have a good digital scale in my kitchen!

Rhapsody October 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm

My shortcut: turn off your oven 3-5 minutes before you take the cookies out. It’ll still be hot enough to cook them, but you save that much energy by not using the oven!

Tara October 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I don’t know that I use or know of any shortcuts that others don’t use. I like to brown my bulk ground beef/turkey ahead of time and freeze 1-lb ziplock baggies of them in the freezer for easy spaghetti or potato soup. I am ALL about the less pans/bowls at a time, the better!!!

Well, and this week when my MIL was over and made from-scratch biscuits for us, she taught me to wipe the counter with a wet sponge before laying down a sheet of parchment or wax paper to roll out and cut the dough. The wet counter-top prevents the wax paper from sliding around and making things difficult!

Rachel October 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I always leave my kitchenaid ice cream mixer bowl in the freezer, that way i don’t have to wait a whole day for it to freeze, I can make ice cream at a whim instead!

Caitlin October 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

My favorite (healthy-ish) shortcut is using a box of Funfetti cake mix mixed with a can of Diet Cream Soda and then bake! Add fat free cool whip mixed with any add-ins and voila!!!

carolina October 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm

save time with your cake mixes and get a better fluffier cake! :

You are making a cake, not gravy or custard, so there is no need to be obsessive about ridding the batter of all lumps. actually when you do this, you only ensure you will have a dense, heavy cake. Lumps in cake batter provide pockets of air which make for a lighter, fluffier cake.

Jen October 16, 2009 at 11:16 pm

I premix the dry ingredients of my favorite homemade pancake recipe and make enough of the dry mix for 5 or so pancake making sessions. All I have to do is add eggs and buttermilk, and I’m ready to fill up the griddle!

Celeste October 17, 2009 at 1:36 am

I, like a couple of the others, use cake mixes for certain types of cookie recipes. Also, I use a cookie scooper and it saves me SO much time making the cookies uniform in size.

Also, my trick, to keep cookies gooey (I like them that way) is to take them out of the oven right before they should be done, leave the cookie sheet on the oven, put the next batch in and then when the next batch comes out, I remove the previous cookies onto wax paper on my counter…. when I am in a hurry and need them to cool faster, I put wax paper on my cooling racks – this way the cookie doesn’t get dried out while cooling…. Makes for super gooey and moist cookies. :-)

kay massingill October 17, 2009 at 10:21 am

My baking tip is to buy slice and bake sugar cookie dough and and before I put the cookies in the oven I take an ingredients like crushed peppermint candy, M&Ms, chocolate chips, nuts, sprinkles, etc and press into the top of the cookie. They look So home made!

Eralda October 17, 2009 at 10:37 am

My secret is that good spices make even the worst baked goods better. I would love a copy :)

Cheryl R October 17, 2009 at 10:47 am

My favorite baking secret is adding some type of pureed, shredded, or chopped fruit or veg to most of my baked goods. It adds extra flavor and nutrition.

Angela October 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm

When I know I’m going to have house guests, I spend a day in my kitchen preparing. I go through the recipes for each meal and prep as far as I can without actually cooking the dish, combining ingredients in small plastic zipper bags and then placing all of the bags for one recipe in a gallon-sized bag. I seal the big bag, write instructions on the label, and stick the whole thing in the fridge. This way I can serve homemade, fresh (not reheated) meals without sacrificing hospitality.

judy October 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Around this time of year–every week when I go to the grocery store, I pick up at least one item I will use during holiday baking. That way when I go to bake christmas cookies, I have everything I need. Sure beats having to go out and shell out alot of money in one trip for cookie ingredients. Nice and gernerous giveaway. Thanks and congrats to whoever wins.

TERRI October 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm

i also store all my baking supplies in 3 lg totes because they are so easy to pull out when needed and everything is in one place.
one of my favs is: bake a pan of brownies and as soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle the top with JR MINTS. let it stand for 5 mins and then swrl them all over the top. i can never wait till they are cooled before digging in !! and dont be stingy with the JR MINTS !!!

TERRI October 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm

here is a great secret and treat for a diabetic or anyone who would like a fat free sweet.
take a ‘ONE STEP’ angel food box mix and put it in a lg bowl. add one 20 oz. can crushed pineapple AND ITS JUICE. still till blended but do not overmix. spread in ungreased 9 x 13 for 20 to 25 mins or till done.

Erin October 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm

I like to dredge blueberries in flour before I add them to a muffin recipe, it helps to keep them from sinking to the bottom!

dymphna October 18, 2009 at 1:42 am

my shortcut secret is that while everyone i know boils their red chilie pods on the stove, I simply microwave them in a bowl of water for about 15 min

TJ October 18, 2009 at 6:34 am

I have a group that gets together once a month to make freezer meals. We try to get atleast 16 meals in the freezer. Which may sound easy to some, but not so much with little munchkins running around!! We are so proud at the end of our session and for weeks to come as we enjoys the bounty of our mornings work. We are planning a cookie dough freezer session soon, I would love to have this book to get some great new ideas.

carolina October 18, 2009 at 7:25 am

my cooking shortcut is an easy microwave chicken recipe. use chicken breast adn mix ketchup, soy sauce, and a little bit of brown sugar. put this mixture on both sides and put in the microwave…it will be ready in 6 to 10 min and it tastes really good!

carolina October 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

my baking shortcut is for boxed cake mixes. i like to use boxed cake mixes but i like for them to taste home made so i always add something in to make it taste different….for chocolate cake i like to add some cocoa powder, cocolate syrup or chocolate chips. for vanilla cakes i like to add organic vanilla extract or paste and for some fruit flavored cake add juice of that certain fruit…if its a citric fruit also add the zest… and for any flavour cake add apple sauce for a really moist texture.

Megan October 18, 2009 at 10:19 am

At this time of year, my favorite shortcut is for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. You mix Spie Cake mix, 1 small can of pumpkin puree and a bag of chocolate chips. So yummy, my kids gobble them up.

Pam October 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

When I bake cookies I always line the pan with parchment paper. This makes it easy to slide the cookies off and the paper can be reused until I’m done with that batch of cooke dough. Clean up couldn’t be easier and you don’t have to constantly grease the pan.

Linda October 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm

I don’t know any shortcuts and I am not a good cookie baker… that is why I need this book. I have 18 year old twin boys who are cookie monsters but I buy premade dough because I don’t have a good recipe for cookies

Michelle October 18, 2009 at 8:34 pm

My favorite baking shortcut is using my cookie scoop! The scoop gets the cookies even and similarly sized so I don’t have to worry about uneven baking.

Kathy October 18, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I’ve read all the great shortcuts and ideas and can’t think of anything I do. I definately could use this book!

Anneh October 19, 2009 at 8:02 am

My favourite shortcut is a recipe from Hungry Girl: devil’s food cake mix + 1/2 a can of pureed pumpkin + 25 min at 350F = instant cupcakes with sneaky vegetables! Great for people like me who don’t like veggies but always have room for chocolate.

Emily October 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm

My favorite cooking shortcut is to keep cooked chicken on hand all the time. It´s so easy to make a meal when you already have the meat prepared! You can use it in a stirfry, for nachos, wraps, salads, with curries/other sauces, on pizzas, and anything else you can imagine!

Nancy Mihalich October 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Use room temperature eggs when making cookies, if the cookie dough is too runny then refrigerate until it firms up, and be the first one to lick the bowl!

Alicia October 23, 2009 at 12:51 am

If raisins in a recipe must be plumped up before being used in a recipe I always use the ones that I have prepared in a glass mason jar in my cupboard. Here in this jar I keep some of my raisins in rum so that i can use them whenever a recipe calls for plumped up raisins. The resulting taste is worth not drinking that little bit of rum!

Shosh October 24, 2009 at 8:47 am

I remember back when I was younger and my mom would make two layer lemon with chocolate frosting cakes for Friday night dinner. Always with Duncan Heniz mix too (it’s the best, by far!). But, instead of oil, she would use apple sauce! Cuts out a lot of the fat/grease, and keeps the cake moist and delicious! You don’t taste apple, it just takes the place of the “purpose” the oil formally had.

Marinda October 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I concur with making the cookie dough, wrapping it in wax paper, then foil, label and date and into the freezer it goes. Slice and bake as needed. Know those wonderful decorated cookie bags, do yourself and your budget a favor. Purchase after the holiday, store and use when needed the next year. But red after Christmas, use for Valentines. Orange for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Carolyn Staples November 5, 2009 at 11:50 pm

This is my favorite quick and easy trick. I got this recipe for a lady at work.

Butter Pecan Cake Mix
1/4 c flour
1 cook pudding
1/2 bag Skor bits

Make the pudding at let it stand for 15 mins to cool. Mix pudding with cake mix and flour. Pour in 9×13 pan. Top with Skor bits, Bake at 350 for 45 min.

The last time I made it I only had a Chocolate cake mix and Banana cooked pudding. I put banana pieces in the pudding and topped with chocolate chips instead of Skor bits. The best chocolate cake EVER!!!

Rhonda Ward November 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

The quickest and easiest cookies ever! 1 cup p-nut butter (creamy), 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg. Mix and drop on cookie sheet and cook at 350 till your desired consistency. They will amaze you as they always turn out a dozen perfect homemade pnut butter cookies.

Rhonda Ward November 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Here’s a shortcut I use when baking when do rolling out my pie crust I sprinkle salt on the butcher block and it makes all the dough come off much easier none of those soggy dough balls that are so hard to pull off.

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