Sunday, April 21, 2013

Better Than Store- or Homemade M&M Cookies

I've been reading a lot of Harry Potter lately. Or, I suppose I ought to say re-reading. No....that's still not right. Something along the lines of re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-reading. Yeah. Prior to the second part of the seventh movie coming out, I reread the entire series to get my head in the game. However, once I saw the movie, I knew I'd have to take a long time off of reading the books- both to mourn the final end and to give myself a little time to forget some of the details in the books so that when I did inevitably go back and read them again, I'd be able to discover a few new levels of magic. Luckily, I have a terrible terrible memory, so the anticipated 5 years of no Harry Potter became less than 2 years! Woohoo! One has very few occasions to enjoy a poor memory, but this is surely one of them.
Anyways, this seemingly has very little to do with this weeks recipe. And, indeed, that is true. However, I am on school break this week so that has been part of what has been occupying my time. Now, the reason this ties in to the cookies is because I spent some time sorting the m&m's by color. It's one of those strange things I really enjoy doing. I like sorting coins and things by color. You're probably thinking, oh she's just a little OCD. No. I'm not. I am the youngest of four and I am the sole reason my house is messy. I once went three years without cleaning my room and it was so messy there were drifts of junk. Three foot tall heaps. But I'm not like that anymore! While still messy, I no longer am on the National Hoarder List. 
And now you're dying to know - what does being a non-OCD pleasure sorter and Harry Potter fan have to do with cookies?
Well. When I started sorting the m&m's by color, I said outloud to our zebra finch, Billie "Let the sorting begin!" and she began squawking excitedly. So. There you have it.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 30-90 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 50-110 minutes

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag of m&m's

As always, for best results of  cookies, you want the ingredients to all be at room temperature. However, I know sometimes you don't have much warning. So, I would recommend taking the eggs out as soon as you begin and give them as much time to warm as possible. For the butter, I'll just chop it up (into about tablespoon sized hunks) and microwave for 20 seconds to soften it. 
That seems to do that job pretty well, especially if you take the time to put the dough in the fridge prior to baking.

So, in a large bowl, mix sugars and butter until smooth. 
Stir in eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add flour, and baking soda to creamed mixture.  
Blend well. 
You can approach the m&m's one of two ways. You can add 3/4 cup of M&M candies right now if you want just random patterns or you can wait until after the dough is chilled to make specific designs. I wanted to write things out on the top of mine, so I did the second way. Either way, chill the dough for 30-90 minutes. Longer is always better, but if you're in a rush, you do what you have to do. 

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease your baking sheets. For the random m&m method, drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies. For designed method, roll dough into balls and flatten out. Press m&m's into desired formation.  

Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes until very lightly golden at the edges.

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