Friday, January 02, 2009

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

I have been told a number of times, mostly by my husband and former roomie, that I make amazing chocolate chip cookies. The thing is, I don’t really do anything special. The recipe I use is on the back of the chocolate chip bag and I never change anything about it. So what follows here is less a recipe and more tips on what I do specifically that might make your chocolate chip cookies a little more fantastic. I replaced 1½ cups of the chocolate chips with peanut butter M&Ms as my husband and I had part of a bag left over from when we snuck some into the movie theater the other day. The other ½ cup I did with mini chocolate chips so they wouldn’t be too obtrusive and also because I have a bunch left over from this project.

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies (basic recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag):

Makes about 24, but I rarely get the same amount as I like cookies of varying sizes

2¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1½ c. peanut butter M&Ms
½ c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Before getting started, take your butter out of the fridge and let it get soft. This is part of how it will get really creamy and make your cookies extra chewy and delicious. Take it out and go do something else for a bit. Set it on top of the warming oven. Come back when it’s softened. I use my KitchenAid for the whole process and it makes quick work of it. Muscle power, a bowl and a spoon also work well. Cream one stick of butter and then the other. Let it get really soft and whipped up.

In the meantime, mix the flour, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. Set aside. Once the butter is really creamy, add in the granulated sugar. Once that is fully incorporated, add the brown sugar. Again, wait until it is incorporated and then add the vanilla. Once everything is well mixed, add in one egg and then the other, again waiting until the first egg is incorporated before adding the second. Slowly add the flour mixture. Wait until each little bit is mixed in before adding more. Patience is key here. Once that is fully mixed in, add in the peanut butter M&Ms and the mini chocolate chips. Once it’s fully mixed, you’re ready to get them into the oven.

Lightly grease at least two baking sheets. When I say lightly, I mean lightly. If you use too much grease, the cookies will spread too much and they’ll stick together or become too thin or too crunchy or all of the above. Using a spoon, take out a tablespoon-ish sized blob and place it on the baking sheet. I sometimes use a spatula and form a palm sized ball in my clean hands and then put it on the sheet. I have small hands, so they don’t end up huge. Make sure you don’t place them too close or they’ll stick to each other. This time, I had 12 cookies on each sheet. In the past I have ended up with fewer because my roommate would not only be stealing cookie dough while I was making it, she’d also steal it from the pan. It is pretty dang good.

Place one sheet on the middle rack of your oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. It will depend on your oven and how big you made the cookies, but you need to watch this. It can go from underdone to over baked very quickly. The outer edges will be browned and the centers will have fallen in slightly. In short, they look like cookies instead of blobs.

Cool on a rack while the other sheet bakes. Don’t remove them from the pan too soon (unless you’re eating them warm, which does taste amazing) or they will stick to each other on the plate. Wait until they have cooled and then put on a plate. These were, for some reason, even better than last time. It may be the M&Ms adding a little somethin’ somethin’. In any case, I made these Wednesday night for NYE and they barely made it to New Year’s Day. They did not make it to today.

This is a really fast recipe and it tastes so good. I highly recommend it for that last minute party you got invited to or when your fiancé and roommate are staring at you and begging you to make cookies.

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