soft and chewy candy-filled cookies

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It’s the last weekend of 2012, and I apparently fell off the face of the earth for the week of Christmas.

Oops.

But these were able to bring me back.

Lucky for you, because now I’m able to share these delightful goodies with you, for our last installment of COOKIE MADNESS.

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I’m sure you thought cookie madness ended with Christmas.  Don’t worry, I did too.

But then, well, like I said… these happened.

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Giant, soft, chewy, candy-filled cookies.  Oh, and you don’t need to wait for butter to soften, because it’s melted.  Oh, and you don’t need to use a mixer, just a sturdy whisk and your arm. Although, if you’ve been slacking off at the gym (like some of us lately), you may want to pull out your hand mixer.  It’s easier to lift than the Kitchen Aid anyway.

Oh, and they’re completely delicious.  Did I mention that?

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Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies 

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt (scant)
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups mix-ins (chocolate chips, m&ms, even dried fruit if that’s the way you roll)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, scant ½ teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the butter and sugars until they are thoroughly blended.  Add the egg, extra yolk, and vanilla.  Continue stirring until mixed.

Add flour mixture and continue mixing just until dough forms.  Once ingredients are incorporated, gently fold in your mix-ins.

Scoop into dough balls (1/4 cup portions for 18 large cookies or 2 tablespoon portions for 36 smaller cookies).

Roll each ball in your hands, and then gently pull the ball apart at the center, creating two equal-sized half-balls.  Press both halves back together with the jagged edges (what used to be the center of the ball) facing up. Try not to feel too ridiculous while doing this.  Clearly it’s totally normal, right?

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Place the new mutant dough-“balls” on your baking sheet. If you’re doing large cookies, I’d leave at least 2 inches in between each.  Large cookies will probably be about 4 inches in diameter, “smaller” cookies will be more… regular-sized.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden and just set.  Cool the cookies on their baking sheet at least ten minutes to finish setting.  Move to cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Makes about 16 large or 36 small cookies

[ Adapted from Cook's Illustrated: The New Best Recipe ]

graham crackers

graham crackers

I know they’re not technically “cookies”, but I don’t think you can really call them “crackers” either.  Either way, I’ve been following smitten kitchen for years now, and finally got around to making her home-made grahams.  I intended to use these to make s’mores, but none of them survived.  Funny, because I don’t remember putting crack in them…

These are magical, with a nice crunch and an added depth of flavor from the dark brown sugar.  Probably too crisp for s’mores, unfortunately.  I am pretty sure you would make a huge mess and squish marshmallow everywhere before you made it through the graham.  Crunchy.  Very, very crunchy.

But I loved these anyway, and couldn’t stop eating them.  They are a far cry from your grocery stores graham crackers, so I think I will need to try a few more recipes before I find one that is s’more appropriate.

Ha, “s’more appropriate,” I didn’t even do that on purpose! :)

Graham Crackers -Makes 10 4 x 4.5-inch graham crackers or 48 2-inch squares

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
  • 1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
  • 5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
  • 2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract

Topping (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon

Make the dough:

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using (I didn’t), by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.

Roll out the crackers:

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary.

Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. You can make them smaller if you like.

Place the crackers on parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.

Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Decorate the crackers:

Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough and using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

*If you don’t have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they’re very well incorporated.

*You can make these ahead of time, cut and freeze in layers of parchment for up to 2 months

 

[ adapted from smitten kitchen who adapted it from 101 Cookbooks ]

COOKIE MADNESS: Easy Pudding Cookies

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Well, it happened.  I’ve fallen victim to that evil thing known as the “common cold”.  Or, as I’ve been referring to it, a “commercial cold”… you know, like they show in the commercials.  Where some poor soul is like  sneeze, sneeze, blow nose, sniffle… I almost never get sick so I didn’t even know that was a real thing.  I thought it was just a dramatic take on the common cold.  I should have known better, the TV would never lie to me!

Why am I telling you this?  Because I’m running on very little sleep, have been up since 2:30 am, and am writing this at the wee hour of 4:00 am… without my glasses, because I didn’t want to turn on a light on my way out of the bedroom.

So I’m sure this particular post will not be winning any literary medals (to say the least).  I’m sure a more responsible party wouldn’t be writing their post at 4:00 am on the morning they plan to post it, but let’s just not talk about that.

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These cookies use the magic of pudding to stay nice and chewy.  For these cookies, I used butterscotch pudding, but I’m more excited for all the other flavors you could make.  You could use any flavor of pudding you want to make an infinite number of flavor combinations. I used butterscotch and chocolate, in a throwback to my chewy butterscotch bars, I immediately regretted not adding marshmallows.  WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME??

Oh hey, with Christmas rapidly approaching, any of you Instagramers out there, go ahead and follow @wee_eats and tag your own cookie pictures with #cookiemadness for a chance to be included in my Christmas Cookie recipe roundup!

Pudding Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 small (3.9 oz) package instant pudding (I used butterscotch)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups mix-ins of your choice (I used a mix of butterscotch chips and chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment

2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffly.  Add dry pudding mix and beat until well-mixed, then add the eggs and vanilla extract.  Add the flour in two additions, mixing until just incorporated.   Stir in your mix-ins.

4. Scoop by tablespoons onto baking sheets.  Mine didn’t spread much (possibly because I left them in the fridge too long and the pudding mix may have had too much time to pudding-ify) so I ended up gently smooshing the tops flat to avoid scoop-shaped cookies.  So my note to you is opposite of what I do with most of my cookies – DO NOT CHILL the dough.  Bake these right after mixing.  Maybe bake only a couple of cookies in the first batch (one smooshed and one not smooshed) to see if smooshing will be necessary.

5.  Bake 10 – 12 minutes until edges are just lightly browned.  Cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  (I cool mine on the sheet until the oven beeps for the next batch to go in, but that’s because I swap between two baking sheets).

You may also like:

butterscotch bars

oreo snowflake cookies

no bake cookies

cookie madness: oreo snowflake cookies

 

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These cookies are for all you Oreo lovers out there. Sure you could always make your own Oreos, but why not just make some cookies and shove some crushed Oreos inside? Plus, these particular cookies only need 7 cookies-worth of crumbs, which means it’s a great way to use up the last of the box… or the perfect excuse to buy a new box and have plenty of… a-hem… “leftovers”.

I kicked this batch up a notch and finished off my bag of Birthday Cake Oreos (see the colorful sprinkles??), but you could really use any sandwich cookie. Like, Nutter Butters perhaps?

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A couple of things about the original recipe that I would (or did) change. The original recipe called for baking at 325°F but I found that temperature to be less than cooperative, so I kicked the oven up to 350°F and they baked perfectly. Note that they will only be ever-so-lightly browned on the bottoms. They’ll still be rather pale, but they’re baked, trust me. :) I also thought there was probably a bit too much flour in the recipe. When I make them next time, I think I will reduce the flour by at least 1/4 cup.

Oreo Snowflake Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 Oreo cookies, crushed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Crush 7 Oreo cookies (I put them in a Ziploc bag and then use my rolling pin to release some stress beat them senseless. Carefully, though, since the bags sometimes like to break when I do that).

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and mascarpone cheese until whipped (about 3 minutes).

Slowly beat in the sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes more. Then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla until incorporated.

Add the flour and mix on low until just incorporated. Stir in crushed Oreo cookies.

Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at for 12-15 minutes. They will still be pale, just every so slightly golden brown along the bottoms. Remove pan to a cooling rack and cool cookies on the pan 10 minutes or until cooled.
[ Adapted from Kevin & Amanda ]

 

You may also like these recipes:

faux-reos

 oreo cheesecake cookies

 s'more cookies

great food blogger cookie swap 2012

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is like a food blogger’s “Secret Santa” except instead of getting each other gifts, we give each other cookies.  Cookies are like gifts, except way more delicious.  Each participant bakes 323428 3 dozen cookies, and then sends one dozen to each of three other food bloggers.

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There is a small $4.00 donation to a great cause, plus we all got this awesome oxo cookie spatula.  How cute!?  This year our donations went to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer which raises money for pediatric cancer research, you can even host your own CFKC bake sale!  But you don’t have to be a baker to donate.  You can donate right now by clicking that link.  :)  It is the holiday season after all, aren’t you feeling charitable?

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Once our cookies are in the mail, we anxiously await the arrival of our own cookie surprises. This year I received delectable soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Elyse at The Cultural Dish , chai snickerdoodles from Leslie at My Kitchen Is Open, chocolate espresso cookies from Jessa at Heed the Feed … and I even got bonus cookies from Shannon at A Periodic Table who sent me her cookie “leftovers” because she’s the sweetest person in the whole world.

Though it was a lot of fun to participate, and I’m totally going to do it next year (and you should, too!), it was probably the most stressful thing ever.  I needed to find the perfect cookie.  I’m pretty sure I did.  After piles and piles of “cookie research”, I settled on one of my all time favorite cookies, aptly named World Peace Cookies.  These cookies have a crisp exterior and a chewy center.  They are deeply chocolatey with bit of sea salt to give them that salty-sweet combination that makes them so dangerously addictive.

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Oh, and they’re crazy easy to make.  Except for the slicing part.  That part will make you want to rip your hair out, but it’s worth it, because even your most grotesque piles of cookie mush will taste just as good as the perfectly-shaped ones.

If you or someone you know is interested in next year’s cookie swap, you can sign up here for notifications once info is available.  It may seem really far in advance right now, but trust me, we all know how quickly these holidays sneak up on us.  You can also like The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap on Facebook.

World Peace Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped)

Making the dough

1. Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl.

2. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy.  Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt and continue beating until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Add flour mixture all at once and cover the mixer with a tea towel (this is to prevent cocoa powder/flour dust from coating your kitchen.  You’ll be happy you did this, trust me.)  Pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times for a couple seconds each time.  If there is still a lot of flour on the surface, pulse a few more times.

4. Once you have successfully averted flour disaster, go ahead and continue to mix low speed for about 30 seconds more until just blended (the mixture may will still be crumbly – I definitely should have taken a picture of this part).  Add in chocolate chips and mix just until incorporated.  You want to try to mix the dough as little as possible.

5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface (I usually dump it right onto a large piece of plastic wrap).  Gather the dough together an divide it in half (I transfer the other half to another piece of plastic wrap).

6. Press and roll each half of the dough until you have two logs that are 1 1/2-inches in diameter.  It is helpful if you use the plastic wrap to help press the dough into a log, then you can use that same plastic wrap to tightly wrap each log.  Place dough logs in the refrigerator to chill at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.*

*Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to two months.  Bake straight from frozen, just add an extra 1 minute. 

Baking the cookies

1. When ready to bake, place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325°F

2. Slice logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  There will be crumbles, just gently smoosh the crumbs back into the cookie discs.

3. Bake cookies for 12 minutes (13 minutes for frozen), remove from oven and cool on baking sheet.  They won’t look markedly different, they will be more like slightly poofier versions of the discs that you put in the oven a mere 12 minutes ago.

[ Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours ]

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