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: ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Michelle Obama’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

So this is weird, huh? I don’t make cookies very often and here we have two cookie posts in a row. I blame my budget and general laziness, but I also just honestly have been having more success with cookies recently. In the past I would make cookies solely for the dough. Seriously, I would have a craving so I’d whip up a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe sans eggs and then roll up the dough to freeze for future munching. Not exactly the healthiest habit, haha, but it would last me months and if I suddenly needed cookies for a party I could just take the frozen dough out of the freezer, slice the rounds off, and bake immediately. …now I’ve got you thinking, haven’t I? 😉

However, my last few recipes have turned out so well baked that I just thought I’d keep giving this proper cookie thing a try. Here we have Michelle Obama’s submission for the 2012 Family Circle cookie contest. This year, it seems like the contest itself has gotten more press than the actual recipes as many see the event as an out-dated biased enabling the women-in-the-kitchen stereotype. “If it’s a presidential competition, why doesn’t the President submit a recipe?” one of my coworkers asked. I see the point, but I also read that when Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, Bill was the one to submit a recipe – which in my mind makes the competition completely fair. We shouldn’t be complaining about how the wives are being asked to bake, we should be complaining about why we aren’t electing female presidents!

It was tricky for me to stick to the original recipe in this one. I’m used to automatically reducing both the sugar and butter in cookie recipes, unless they use only a minimal amount. This one also calls for white, milk, and dark chocolate when I would normally want dark, dark, and extra dark, haha. Still, the point is to make both recipes as written and then vote for your favorites. It’s a little late to cast your vote I’m afraid – sorry I discovered this recipe after the fact! – but if you’re like me and are still curious as to which cookie will win over your heart and stomach, read on:

Michelle Obama’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes about 5 dozen cookies!)

Ingredients:

2¼   C   AP flour

1   t   baking soda

1   t   salt

1   C   unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened

1   stick butter-flavored vegetable shortening*

¾   C   granulated sugar

¾   C   packed brown sugar

1   t   vanilla extract

2   eggs

1  C  each of white, milk, and mint chocolate chips**

2   C   finely chopped walnuts

* Note: I used Earthbalance.

** Note: the source recipe suggests chopped Andes mint pieces (which I love), but I couldn’t find them anywhere around here (are Andes mints only a States thing?). I ended up buying white and milk chocolate chips and then chopping up several dark chocolate mint bars. I still got the white/milk/dark/mint combination, just in a different way.

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl of a stand mixer/large bowl with electric mixer cream together butter, shortening, sugars, and vanilla extract.

2) Add eggs to butter mixture, one at a time and blending well after each. On low speed slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until incorporated. By hand, mix in the three kinds of chocolate chips and nuts – the dough will be PACKED but don’t worry, they’ll turn out perfectly. By hand, drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until golden brown and darker around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes or so before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Beezer’s Notes:

These cookies are a really neat take on classic chocolate chip and my office went through the two dozen or so that I brought in before the day was out. The blend of chocolates made for a really great combination and these cookies are so jam-packed with goodies that you can get different flavors with every bite. I’ll still admit that I will reduce the sugar and butter in future renditions, though. With all the fillings the dough really doesn’t need to be that sweet and I really hate it when I have to wipe my fingers after handling a cookie. I bet you can cut out half the butter without losing taste. Overall, Michelle Obama’s cookies did surprise me and I can’t wait to see how they’ll stack up to Ann Romney’s later this week (I’m saving that recipe for when my dad comes to visit, he loves oatmeal).

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥   ♥   ♥

Chocolate Lover’s Cookies

Wow, what a crazy month. I had my mind blown during a week-long crash coarse in statistical methods for astronomers, my stomach challenged while visiting home the following week (A big thank you to everyone who took me out/joined me for dinner in VT! Love you guys and not only because you feed me Thai food, haha), and my sanity tested upon return to Nova Scotia when it seemed like anything that could go wrong spontaneously decided to do just that.

In the last few weeks we found out we had missed the application deadline to renew our lease (we never received the email) and were told our apartment has been reserved for someone else (we have about 3 weeks until we’re out), I fell behind in my research report and had to turn in the first draft painfully short a few sections (nothing worse than knowing how much better you could have done), and I apparently failed at my effort to be responsible with my phone while traveling abroad (turned off data, roaming, texting, bought U.S. minutes, etc.) since it was shut off yesterday with an overcharge of $250 CAD. When it rains, it pours.

BUT the moments of panic have receded and I’m starting to get back into the swing of things: the Canadian‘s in charge of finding our new place, research is on a roll, and – with a very painful account transfer – the phone bill was paid. Plus, there’s nothing some good scratch-baking can’t fix! So, now let’s move on to much more fun and *cough* inexpensive things like…

Chocolate Lover’s Cookies (from My Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:

½   C   unsalted butter, softened (or 1 stick)

¾   C   granular sugar

1   egg

1   t   vanilla extract

1   C   AP flour

1/3   C   high-quality cocoa powder

¼   t   baking powder

¼   t   baking soda

1    pinch of salt

1   C   semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus extra for topping

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and the egg until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet about a third at a time until incorporated – the dough will be very dry. Add chocolate chips and give it a few more good stirs.

2) Take rounded teaspoons of dough and shape into balls with your hands. Flatten balls into disks before placing on the cookie sheets. Bake for 5-8 minutes or just until set (careful here, it’s very easy to overbake them as they’re so dark!). Let cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack. As cookies are cooling, gently press a few extra chocolate chips to the tops of each.

Beezer’s Notes:

These are some serious chocolate cookies. They are perfect for those annoyingly persistent cravings, midnight indulgences, and gifts – as they are quite hearty and travel well. The extra chips on top are brilliant since they not only squeeze in as much chocolate as humanly possible, but also make these some of the most adorable cookies I’ve ever had the pleasure to bake. Move over, Chocolate Cloud Cookies: we’ve got a new recipe in the house!

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

%d bloggers like this: