Baking Better Without a Box

By Lauren Rowland

I honestly believe that the world would come together if we all made our neighbors baked goods. Maybe it’s because you can’t really make something from scratch without putting love into it.

For me, baking is like therapy. It relaxes me to focus and measure out all the ingredients. Creating a recipe is like getting friends together. You notice when someone’s missing, you notice when someone’s overpowering the group and you notice when someone’s not all the way there.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies


When it comes to baked goods, you can’t beat a classic chocolate chip cookie. This cookie has a little twist because it has three types of chocolate: white, milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Cookies may be the go-to for all beginning bakers, but, for the longest time, I had trouble with the simple chocolate chip cookie. After a lot of trial and error, I finally have the perfect recipe.

  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • ¾ sugar
  • ¾ brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 ¼ cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar until thoroughly mixed. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. Slowly add flour and baking soda until dough is mixed. Add all chocolate chips to the dough, and mix until all chips are evenly distributed. Use an ice cream scoop to portion onto a greased cookie sheet. Approximately nine cookies will fit on each sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Yields 36 cookies.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Brownies


This recipe is just as easy as a boxed mix, but 100 percent more delicious then any pre-made mixes. These ooey gooey chocolate brownies combine nature’s greatest gifts: butter, sugar and chocolate. Their favorite partner in crime is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  • 1 pack semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and oil in a saucepan. Take off burner and add chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted. Set a side and let cool down. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and eggs. Mix warm chocolate mixture with the other ingredients until evenly combined. Place in a greased 13×9 pan, and bake for 40 minutes.

Yields 12 brownies.

Cookies and Dream Cupcakes


For me, a cupcake must be two things: moist and chocolate-based. About five years ago I used to bake a lot, like 500 in one weekend. I would bake the entire weekend and then sell them at school to my friends and people who only knew me for my cupcakes.

For a long time I thought I would be baking cupcakes for the rest of my life. I didn’t want baking to be a chore, but baking 500 at once became one. I started to lose my love of baking, so I stopped for a little bit. This particular cupcake was my best seller for the two years that I dabbled in the baking business. This recipe is the best kept secret since Dr. Pepper or Kentucky Fried Chicken’s secret recipes, but better.


  • 24 cupcake liners
  • 1 box of Double Stuf Oreos
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake wrappers in the 24 slots of two cupcake pans. Then place one Oreo in each of the wrappers. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, water, eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar until combined. Slowly add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add dark chocolate chips to the mixture, and combine until evenly distributed. Use an ice cream scoop to place mixture on top of Oreos in the lined pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.


  • 4 sticks butter
  • 1 ½ pounds powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box of Double Stuf Oreos

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter for about five minutes, until the butter looks lighter in color and fluffier. Add vanilla and a fourth of the powdered sugar, and mix until combined. Continue to add powdered sugar slowly until it has been added. Set aside 12 cookies for garnish. In a large bag crush the rest of the Oreos from the cupcakes and frosting. Pour crushed cookies and chocolate chips into the frosting bowl. Mix until evenly combined.

Yields 24 cupcakes.

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