Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate M&M Cookies

Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate M&M Cookies

My daughter loves to bake with me. Last weekend, she asked if we could make some cookies. So I pulled up my Pinterest cookie board and told her to pick one.  She is a total chocolate lover like her mom, so these were an easy choice for her.  Chocolate + cookies + M&Ms? It doesn’t get much better for a 6-year-old.   We set to work, her measuring and pouring and then her aunt called.  She is crazy about her aunt, so the cookie idea was quickly abandoned for girl talk.  She was sad that after her 20 minute phone call, I had finished the batter and had a sheet in the oven.  Well, the type A in me could not leave cookie dough unfinished.  But, no worries. All was forgiven when she tasted this cookie.  Sammie said “I have to say, my taste buds went on a yummy trip”.  I love this girl!  And I have to agree. These were some delicious cookies. The cookie base was very brownie-like and chewy. The M&Ms gave a nice pop of chocolate flavor and just look adorable anyways.  This one is definitely a keeper. A good lunch box cookie for sure. 

Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate M&M Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies.  I only got 18.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder   I used Valrhona Dutch Processed
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini M&Ms   I used 3/4 cups:   1/2 cup for the dough and 1/4 cup to press into the top of the dough

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.  I never bake more than one batch of cookies at a time.

In a medium bowl, sift the following together:  flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.  I almost never sift, but when cocoa powder is involved, I do because it is always so lumpy. In the bowl of your KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.  With the mixer on low,  add the dry ingredients a little at a time, beating until just combined.  Stir in the mini M&M’s by hand with a rubber spatula.  I would add about 1/2 cup to dough and reserve 1/4 cup to press into the top of the cookies after they are portioned. They look prettier this way.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Press the reserved M&Ms into the top of each ball. About 5 or 6 should do it. Bake for about 8 minutes (rotating your cookie sheet(s) halfway) or until the edges of the cookies are set.  The centers may look a bit underdone – but they will finish baking on the cookie sheet. Please do not over bake! No one likes dry, burnt cookies.  Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets.  Remove the cookies from the sheets and allow to cool completely, if you can wait, on a wire rack.

Source:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Buckeyes

You had to know this was coming when I mentioned that it just didn’t seem like Christmas without 2 things: fudge and buckeyes.    You saw the fudge, but then no buckeyes.  I actually did make them the day after I made the fudge…but funny story.  I rolled all the peanut butter dough into balls and then I had to refrigerate them before dipping. I didn’t have room in the fridge, so I thought I would just put them on a cookie sheet with a cover that snaps on tight.  Just to ensure they were safe, especially from my pug Walter, I put them on top of my grill.  When I went to roll them the next day, the cover was removed, neatly tucked into the handle of the grill.  About a quarter of the peanut butter balls were missing.  I don’t know what kind of animal it was, probably a raccoon or some squirrels, but needless to say, I was not happy.  I had to throw over 100 perfectly rolled, delicious peanut butter balls in the garbage. 😦  This is the kind of stuff that only happens to me!  So, today I made them all over again.  Only this time, I made sure to make room in the fridge. 😀

Buckeyes

Yield: 100-150 (depending on how big you roll them)

Filling

1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (almost 6 cups)

1/2 pound room temperature butter (2 sticks)

1 pound creamy peanut butter (2 cups)  I love Peter Pan Honey Roasted Creamy

1 Tbsp vanilla

Coating

12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 slab paraffin wax (found in the canning or baking section of most grocery stores)

Combine powdered sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer.  Beat slow at first until the powdered sugar gets incorporated, then beat on medium until well combined.  Form the dough into balls, about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Put the balls in a bowl or on a cookie sheet, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  To melt the chocolate, use a double boiler or a small, heavy bottomed saucepan.  Put the chips and the paraffin (cut into small pieces) into the pan, and heat on low, mixing continuously until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Remove the peanut butter balls from the fridge and using a long wooden skewer, dip the balls, leaving a small circle of peanut butter showing at the top.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  You may need to put the peanut butter balls back in the fridge if they get too soft to dip.  You may also have to reheat the chocolate if it cools so much it starts to thicken/solidify.  Use your fingers to smooth out the skewer hole on top of each candy.  Freeze to set, then store in cookie tins in the freezer or fridge if using soon.  I think they taste better at room temperature.

Source: Penseys Spices Holiday 2000

Helpful Hints:

  • Use a small saucepan, so the chocolate is deeper for easy dipping.
  • I have found wooden shish kebob skewers to be the best for dipping.
  • The paraffin wax helps to make the chocolate coating more smooth and more stable.

Cappuccino Fudge

I don’t make a lot of candy at Christmas, mostly because I prefer baking cookies. But it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without homemade fudge and buckeyes.  Many times fudge recipes require using a candy thermometer.  And while I do own one, I don’t use it much because it can make something simple like fudge a lot more complicated than it has to be.  So, that is why I love this cappuccino fudge recipe I found on Annie’s Eats several years ago. No thermometer required.  Perfect.  The addition of espresso and cinnamon is a nice change from the usual fudge. It is really creamy and in the words of my 4 yo daughter, both amazing and incredible.  I always double the batch, since the original recipe only makes an 8 x 8 pan. That would never be enough for my family. 😀  Since it keeps so well in the fridge, I can make it far in advance of Christmas and have it last quite awhile…that is if I can keep my children from eating it all!!

Cappuccino Fudge
Ingredients:

1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow cream
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup butter
1 tsp instant espresso powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with foil, allowing for overhang on all four sides. Set aside while you prepare the fudge.

In a 2 qt. saucepan, combine Fluff, sugar, heavy cream, butter, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt.  Over medium heat, stir constantly and bring to a boil.  Continue to stir and boil x 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the chocolate chips until completely smooth. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. When solid, remove the fudge from the pan pulling up by the foil overhang. Place it on a cutting board and cut into squares.  How many, depends on how big you cut them. But, this is pretty rich fudge.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Helpful Hints:

  • This recipe is the original recipe for an 8×8 pan of fudge.  I double all ingredients and cook it in an 8 quart stock pot, and spread it in an aluminum foil lined 13×9 pan.
  • Make sure you mix the chocolate chips until smooth so no pieces of chocolate remain.
  • I drop the pan on the counter to try to pop any air bubbles before refrigeration.
  • I find the fudge cuts better when cold, but tastes better at room temperature.
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