Margaret Button: Pressure cook, saute or sous vide? I'll just bake cookies ...

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One of my Christmas presents from my son, David, this year was a 9-in-1 multicooker.

Upon unwrapping the huge box, I exclaimed, "Wow, what is this?"

"It's a multicooker. You said you wanted one," he said proudly.

I can be honest here because he never reads my column; if I didn't know what it was, how could I have said I wanted one? I'm pretty sure it may have been his future mother-in-law who wanted one ... I wonder if she got the sweaters I had asked for?

Apparently, a multicooker is an Instant Pot on steroids — it functions as a slow-cooker, pressure cooker, saute pan, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, food warmer and sous vide — all in one appliance. (I don't even know what sous vide is!) The only thing it doesn't do is clean itself.

This past weekend, I took all the information booklets out of the box. I was already a little intimidated by the fact it was a pressure cooker — cartoons I watched in my formative years always had them blowing up and projecting food all over the kitchen. And, aren't pressure cookers popular with terrorists for making bombs?

The full page of warnings did nothing to calm my fears. In a list of 41 precautions, there were no fewer than 17 DO NOTs, eight NEVERs, TWO WARNINGs, and one CAUTION. Very reassuring ...

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There was also two pages with all the parts listed, five pages on how to operate it — complete with more DO NOTs and CAUTIONs and a page on troubleshooting problem, which also features three more DO NOTs.

I never got around to taking the multicooker out of the box. I was too overwhelmed and wasn't up to taking my life in my hands by actually trying to cook something in it. I made a batch of cookies in the oven instead to help me de-stress.

I came across a recipe the other day that is right up there with my recipe for Wasp Cake — the cake made with a box of cooked pudding (cooked according to the directions on the box), a box of cake mix (uncooked and dry right out of the box) and whatever topping (chocolate chips, etc.) you want. As a matter of fact, it's the same concept except for cookies! Could anything be better? My mind was racing with all the possible cake flavor and mix-in options — yellow cake mix with chocolate or toffee chips, chocolate mix with white chocolate chips, spice cake with butterscotch chips ... The world is your oyster!

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Makes 3 dozen cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 12 minutes

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1 box cake mix, any flavor

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mix-in chips or baking bits any flavor


Combine cake mix, eggs and oil in bowl, stir with a spoon until blended. Add desired add-in, stir until well mixed. Bake in 350-degree F oven on greased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on rack. Store tightly covered.


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