Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I wanted to share a fun recipe for Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies that you could create as a fun treat to give or to share with those you love.
Walmart asked me to create a Valentine’s Day treat with one of their exclusive products they carry. Since I am such a big M&M fan, I decided to use their Red Velvet M&M’s in my recipe.
Do you ever have a really hard time with a recipe and then later wonder if it had ever been tested? That was the case with this project from start to finish. These cookies were supposed to be simple and straightforward, but the recipe ended up being written completely wrong. Thankfully for you, I spent a whole day figuring out what went wrong with this one and how we can fix it so that you can have an awesome baking day!
Please read this post carefully, I am offering you a load of tips for a successful baking day!!
Are M&M’s Gluten-Free?
Let’s begin with the question, are M&M’s gluten-free? The answer is that most M&M’s are gluten-free. In fact, most of the varieties they typically carry, other than their pretzel variety, are gluten-free.
What I found with the Red Velvet M&M’s though are that they are gluten-free, but in high times of production, like Halloween & Valentine’s Day, Mars uses alternative facilities to make its candy and some of those may introduce cross-contamination risks. These Red Velvet M&M’s are ones that could have been cross-contaminated. If this is of high concern, look for the plain M&M’s, preferably mini-M&M’s to help your dough hold up better.
It is always important to read your labels carefully and know that Mars Chocolate always promises to call out any wheat, barley, and rye ingredients by name, as well as any cross-contamination risks on their labels. I recommend this information page for finding which Valentine’s Day candies are safe to eat.
Tips for a Successful Dough
As, I am a big fan of the Betty Crocker cake mixes, I used this to create my cookies. As you can see when I mixed the ingredients together, this dough is very crumbly. To help make this dough really hold and stick together, add 3-4 teaspoons of water to the dough, until it really comes together. This will help when slicing your sugar cookie rolls.
The recipe that was written did not add this to the dough and so when I sliced them, the cookie dough crumbled. I had to add my water later and chill them again for another three hours. Once I sliced with the liquid addition, the dough held much better.
If you need these cookies to be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, please read the notes in the recipe on how you can create these without the butter.
Tips for a Successful Sugar Cookie Log
One more thing, I learned while creating this cookies is that it is better to make your sugar cookie roll WITHOUT the M&M’s in it and then add them to your cookies after so you can get beautifully clean slices.
Trying to cut through these Red Velvet M&M’s was a real challenge so I would encourage adding them after or just doing these cookies as a drop cookie. To do a sugar cookie roll, as pictured above with M&M’s, seek the mini varieties. Again, read the packaging carefully to insure that they are safe for eating.
Wrap your sugar cookie roll in wax paper and chill for three hours or more. Once you are ready to bake off your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then slice them and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or a well-greased cookie sheet. I prefer parchment paper, both for the ease of clean-up and how beautifully these cookies will set up.
Allow these to cool and then transfer. These cookies are very delicate in texture so you will want to give them plenty of time to set up.
What Do They Taste Like?
These cookies are so delicious that you will NEVER know that they are gluten-free. The dough is so flavorful and the healthy dose of vanilla in the batter makes these taste like a cookie dough that you truly slaved over. The addition of the candies adds that yummy chocolate flavor that I think every good cookie should have.
With these helpful tips, I hope you will have a successful baking day and hope that this easy treat idea will help as you plan your own Valentine’s Day treats this year!
Can I Freeze These?
Cookies can be frozen! It is recommended that you wrap them in aluminum foil or in a resealable plastic bag for up to one month. Let the cookies thaw on the kitchen counters overnight before serving.
What Other Ways Can I Spice Up These Cookies?
If you can’t have chocolate, there are many other ways you can spice these easy cookies up.
Add Sprinkles- Lightly beat one egg white and brush the tops of your cookies with it, then sprinkle with gluten-free sugar sprinkles.
Add Zest- Add 1 teaspoon of grated lemon, orange, or key lime zest
Switch Your Extract- Try a different extract in your dough like almond or butter
Make It Spicy- Add a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, or dust the tops with the egg white & a cinnamon & sugar combo.
- 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter- if dairy-free replace with vegetable shortening, MELTED
- 1 large egg
- 3-4 teaspoons warm water, just until you see your dough pull together
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup M&M's or read the post for other ways to spice up these cookies
- Place the cake mix, butter (or vegetable shortening), egg, water, and vanilla in your mixing bowl and beat on low speed until well-combined.
- Using a spatula fold in the M&M's (if mini-sized) or reserve to press these into each cookie after they have been cut (if large-sized)
- Place the cookie dough on a sheet of wax paper and then press with your hands to form a long,approximately 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Tightly roll the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets well or cover these in parchment paper.
- Unwrap the dough and transfer to a cutting board and slice them in ¼-3/8" slices.
- Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges,7-10 minutes.
- Let the cookies fully cool before transferring.