Wednesday, June 8, 2016
I bake cookies fairly often, about twice a month or so. To me, "drop" cookies - like chocolate chip - are the ultimate bake. They're easy, they bake quickly, they don't involve rolling or even much shaping, and you get lots of them from one recipe. That last one might be the most important, actually; we're a household of cookie lovers, that's for sure. We know a lot of other people who like cookies too and we're always happy to share; the Bear's workplace gets frequent cookie donations, as do friends and neighbors. I've been making the basic chocolate chip cookie recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook for many years. I love this recipe. It's wonderful as written, and it's easy to alter for different add-ins and flavors. One of our favorite alterations, just once in a while, is to use plain M&M candies instead of chocolate chips. Totally YUM. Here's how I make them.
Do you like M&M's as much as I do? They were my favorite candy when I was little and I think they still are. Given the chance to pick out candy at the grocery store, I always chose M&M's. The colors were different when I was a kid in the 80's - no red and no blue, but there were two brown shades. I often separated the colors and ate them in order - orange, yellow, green, light brown, dark brown - one from each color group at a time. I don't know why; I've always enjoyed weird, orderly little ways of doing things, I guess. Then, as now, I liked plain M&M's best, but I'm sure you could try other types of M&M's in this recipe. I like to use the plain ones here because they're simple; they crack open and melt in the baking too - delicious! They are sweeter than the usual semi-sweet chocolate chips you might use in a cookie recipe, though, so with that in mind, I've modified the recipe to include less sugar when I'm using M&M's instead of chocolate chips. The cookies still taste great - chocolatey, buttery, not overly sweet.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain M&M's, divided
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugars, stir in vanilla and egg. Gradually add flour and other dry ingredients, including 1/2 cup M&M's. Reserve the other 1/2 cup of M&M's to add later. I find that the M&M's can be a little difficult to stir into the dough completely, so I like to place a few on top of each cookie before baking, to ensure full chocolatey goodness in each and every one.
Using a cookie scoop, or two teaspoons, drop 1-inch pieces of dough onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. At this point, I take a look at each bit of dough to see how many M&M's are incorporated; if there aren't very many, I'll add two or three M&M's on top. If it looks like the dough is already chock-full, I might add just one, or none at all. It's not an exact science; just make sure all the cookies have a few M&M's somewhere.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (or whatever is best for your oven) until cookies are golden brown and M&M's have started to split and soften. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. This recipe should make about four dozen 2-inch cookies. You should see them disappear in no time flat.