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Food Network’s “Best Baker in America" judge and blogger Jason Smith shares his twist on the handheld treat that has a bourbon-laced filling inspired by the classic Kentucky Derby cocktail. This recipe uses store-bought cake mix as a shortcut for the cookies: “It ain’t a sin, just a sin not to use it!” says Jason. If you prefer yours non-alcoholic, just swap in water for the bourbon.


For the cookies
  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
For the filling
  • 1 (8-ounce) box cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced, or 2 drops mint oil
For the garnish
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • A few whole mint leaves


Serves: 10-12


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.

For the cookies, place mix in bowl of standing mixer. Add oil, bourbon, water, vanilla and eggs, and mix gradually to combine. Fold in the graham cracker crumbs.

Using a 2-ounce ice cream or cookie scoop, place six dough balls on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove and place on rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

For the filling, combine cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in standing mixer and beat until fluffy, beginning slowly. Mix in the bourbon and mint.

When cookies are cool, pipe or spread a dollop of filling on the flat side on half of them, then place the unfrosted cookies on top.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with mint leaves.

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