Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies

Finally, here they are! The last few weeks have been full of visitors from both sides of the family and we’ve had a lot of fun… but it didn’t leave much time for baking or blogging. It was challenging enough trying to find the time to get my work done around sailing, kayaking, multiple farmer’s market trips, and touristy things in general. I haven’t been able to kayak regularly in years – although luckily my family is making good use of my 17′ baby while I’m away – so I’d have to say the four hour kayaking trip was my favorite. 

But let me tell ya, folks, these cookies are totally worth the wait! Wow. I had a feeling I would prefer them over the First Lady’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies based simply on the fact that they contained both oatmeal and peanut butter (how can you go wrong, really?) and – unfortunately for Michelle – I really do. The Obama’s will continue to have my admiration and support, but Ann Romney has swept this contest for me. In case there was any doubt: the dozen and a half I brought in to the office last week were gone by noon. Not even a crumb remained. Which cookies serve equally well as breakfast or dessert? These babies.

Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies

(makes about 3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

1   C   granulated sugar

1   C   packed light brown sugar

½   C   unsalted butter (1 stick), softened

1½   C   crunchy peanut butter*

1   T   light corn syrup

3   eggs

½   t   vanilla extract

4½   C   old-fashioned rolled oats

2   t   baking soda

6   oz.   chocolate chips

2/3   C   regular M&M’s

* Note: For baking, I like to use peanut butter brands that have nothing but peanuts (no added salt, oil, sugar, etc.) because it’s easier to judge the sugar and salt content. If you do the same, just remember to add a pinch of salt to the dry mix! I usually remember, but forgot on my second batch and it really is amazing what a little salt can do for flavor…and how forgetting it can make them lackluster. 

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Cream sugars, butter, peanut butter, and corn syrup in a large bowl on high speed until creamy. Beat in one egg at a time at low speed until just combined. Beat in vanilla extract.

2) In a separate large bowl mix together oats and baking soda (and salt if using unsalted PB!). Slowly stir into peanut butter mixture and keep working it until well combined – it’ll be tough, but you can do it. Add in M&M’s and chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.

3) Scoop dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets one heaping Tablespoon at a time. Gently press heaps into flat disks with the back of a spoon or your fingertips (if using fingertips you may want to dip them in a bit of water beforehand to prevent sticking) and bake until the entire cookie is a light golden brown – a few minutes more than you would traditional chocolate chip cookies, about 15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on the sheets before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Excellent warm with vanilla ice cream or cool as a breakfast bar.

Beezer’s Notes:

These cookies were my biggest crowd-pleaser yet and they certainly won me over. I couldn’t help myself and did reduce the white sugar in my second batch, but in my defense I also used mini M&M’s and mini chocolate chips to pack even more candy into the dough – which certainly made up for it. Both batches disappeared in record time. In conclusion, the winner of my personal Presidential Cookie Bake-off is: Ann Romney! Give both recipes a try a tell me what you think; White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies or these oatmeal/peanut butter beauties?

Overall Enjoyment: ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

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Mint Chocolate Candy Cookies

I was on the phone with my grandmother about two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day. We had just been casually chatting and catching up when she asked if I wanted to have St. Patty’s Day dinner at her place. “Sure,” I said, anticipating the usual feast of delicious ham, sweet potatoes, and maple syrup-baked carrots she whips up for nearly every holiday. “Wonderful,” she replied, “I’ll host and you cook! It’s all settled then.” …wait, what?!

Half an hour later I was on the phone with my youngest brother, shamelessly enlisting his help as sous chef for the big day. We eventually settled on two main dishes and two desserts along with an assortment of snacks. I was a diligent photographer for the desserts – which we baked earlier in the afternoon – but was too caught up in the whirlwind of the kitchen to capture anything decent after that. I’ll remake them later for posting; until then, I leave you with the first of two St. Patrick’s Day desserts: appropriately green chocolate mint candy cookies!


Mint Chocolate Candy Cookies (from The Adventures of Kitchen Girl)

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Dough…

1      C     softened unsalted butter

1      C     powdered sugar

1 ½   t   peppermint extract

2            egg yolks

10 – 15   drops green food coloring (I put in 8 )

2 ¼  C   all-purpose flour

½      t    baking powder

¼      t    salt

For the Cookie Topping…

1     C     dark chocolate chips

3     T     heavy whipping cream

3     T     butter

25         Andes Creme de Menthe candies, coarsely chopped

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Begin by making the dough: in a large bowl beat softened butter and powdered sugar with a mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Add the peppermint extract, egg yolks, and food coloring until well combined.
  3. On low speed, slowly add in flour, baking powder, and salt until well incorporated.
  4. Shape dough into 1″ balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a deep well into the center each cookie with your index finger or pinkie (the source recipe says “thumb” but we found our thumbs to be too large and destructive, haha).
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Reshape wells if needed. Let cool 5 minutes or so before transferring to wire racks. Allow cookies to cool completely before continuing.
  6. To make the topping: in a small microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips, cream, and butter on high for 30 seconds. Stir well, then heat again for another 30 seconds. Stir once more until mixture comes together smoothly. If more heating is needed, microwave at 10-second intervals stirring well in between.
  7. Fill each cookie with chocolate sauce and top with chopped candy pieces. Allow to cool and set, about 1 hour.

Beezer’s Notes:

These cookies were much drier than I anticipated – think shortbread with less butter. I preferred mine dunked in milk. I’m sure we over-baked ours a bit, though, since they had rather unattractive brown rings around the edges (unlike the beautiful cookies Jo made). You may also have noticed that my young assistant enjoyed tacking single large chunks of candy on top of the cookies rather than the cute little bits shown in the source photo. Never really one for aesthetics, my brother, haha. Giant chunks or no, these we some yummy bites! You can’t go wrong with Andes Mints, in my opinion.

Overall Enjoy-mint: ♥  ♥  ♥


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