I make lots of Christmas cookies. Every year. Lots. Loads. Tons. No exaggeration, I’ll make nearly 1,000 cookies in any given Christmas season. And they are all gone. How can that be you ask? Well, there’s one simple answer:
I have mostly men in my life. Large ones I live with 3. I am friends with dozens more.
They all have their separate favorites. And I happen to be in the holly jolly spirit at that time of year. Yet, there was that one thing that always pissed me off about the whole enjoying my Christmas cookies thing. They ate them all.
BEFORE I was ready to hand them out to OTHER people that weren’t them! I always plan on giving some away as gifts. When my brother was living with me I had made a batch of over 100 M&M cookies (his favorite). I left them on wax sheets to cool overnight, glad to be done with THAT batch of cookies. I woke up the next morning and there were about 15 left. He. Ate. That. Many. Cookies. Over. Night. When I ran to him nearly in tears asking him what had happened to the cookies he replied
“Yeah, sorry about that. I was hungry.”
Eventually, I got smart. Make some Christmas cookies EARLIER in December and sneakily freeze some of the dough to make LATER in December. This way I can make them and quickly package them up as gifts without having to worry about them going stale or being eaten. That’s right. Genius.
I make a bunch of different cookies every year, including candies and fudge. I try not to do more than one per day because it can get pretty exhausting and after all it’s supposed to be FUN. So here is the M&M cookies I made. The recipe is altered a bit I know, it was my mothers.
First thing before I give you the recipe is my use of margarine. I hate margarine. Margarine is not actually a food. It’s one molecule away from plastic. Don’t believe me? Leave a tub of margarine outside open and leave a tub of butter outside open. Wait a month. The butter will be moldy, sticky and have critters in it. The margarine will not have changed at all, no bugs, no nothing. It’s not good for you. Butter is good for you. The problem of course being that butter is like 10x’s the price of margarine. Now, normally, in everyday life, this diabetic wouldn’t EVER feed her family (or herself) margarine under any circumstances. For Christmas, when you are baking THIS many cookies, margarine is only .79 for 4 sticks as opposed to $4.00 for 4 sticks. You can do that math.
Cookies are super carbed chocolate laden sugary goodness. Not exactly the best thing for you so I kinda figure adding in some franken food ain’t gonna hurt anyway. And in baking, unless it’s something like a pound cake, the use of margarine isn’t usually detectable in taste.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, here is what you are going to need:
1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 12 oz bag holiday m&m’s (full size, don’t get the wimpy mini ones)
A stand mixer (optional, but if you are lazy and smart you’ll have one)
Before I do anything, I always fill the sink with warm soapy water. This makes kitchen clean up so much easier because you can soak, dunk and rinse and when all is done load up the dishwasher.
Now gather up all your stuff. God my stuff is filthy, gotta wipe those off. Geez.
First thing you are gonna do is cream together the sugars and the margarine until they are kind of fluffy. So add the butter.
Add the sugars
And beat until it’s nice and fluffy.
Then add in the egg and vanilla. Beat that for a minute. I almost never use a measure for the vanilla, it should be noted. I find the cap on the vanilla bottle (small ones) works just fine. 2 capfuls of the tiny bottles, or 1 capful if you have a big bad dog bottle like mine. Just a random side note.
Then you add the soda, salt and flour.
Salt. If you don’t have one of these you should. It’s an under the cabinet spice rack with a wheel that clicks, each click is 1/4 teaspoon of spice. I love it. It’s on the “I’ll never regret I bought this” list.
It’ll turn into a kind of very soft, sticky dough. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be this way. These aren’t typical cut and shape cookies. Mix that until it’s well blended into dough and if you are using a mixer, make sure to scrape the bowl a couple times.
Now you are going to add the M&M’s. If you are using a stand mixer, BE CAREFUL. You may choose to fold them in by hand OR put the setting simply on “stir” because the mixer is powerful enough to break the M&M’s. Turn it on just long enough to fold the candies in. If you are doing this by hand, obviously, this isn’t an issue.
Now you’ve got some nice dough. So grab your cookie sheet.
I prefer to use a cookie scoop. Useless gadget I know and for quite some time I swore at it every time I used it. It was just as easy to use a spoon because the dough stuck to the damn cookie scoop anyway and you had to slide it off your finger. So what was the point? Then, I found a trick.
Coat the cookie scoop with some non stick spray. This makes super quick work of putting cookie dough on the cookie sheets.
If you don’t have a cookie scoop, heaping spoonfuls are just fine. You don’t want these huge, but you don’t want them really small either.
Space them about 2″ apart since they spread on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes. That having been said, I don’t care WHAT any cook, expert or guru tells you all ovens are NOT the same. Even your oven isn’t the same most likely from one time of the year to another. They are supposed to be. They are not.
So I suggest you check these at about the 8 minute mark. You don’t want them overcooking. They should be ever so slightly golden on the sides and a lighter golden on the top. You don’t want to overcook these because if you do, once the cookie cools, they’ll turn into marble rocks.
Remove them to cool on cooling racks. I know that this is usually an optional step (well, it is if you are lazy like me) but do this. Sincerely. If you don’t they’ll stick like hell to your cookie sheet.
Now do it ALL again and freeze the dough. Since it’s a soft dough, it won’t freeze in a roll like most doughs. I just use a cheap ziploc bowl container, put the lid on, cover it with foil and stick it in the freezer. Then when I want to make it, I’ll let it thaw overnight and go for it. I freeze it WITH the M&M’s in it, but of course, you don’t have to do that.
Now quickly go over to the cooled, baked cookies and shove as many as you can into your mouth within a five minute span before anyone realizes you’ve made them. This is assuredly the one way you will get ANY cookies at all. By the time they find the single cookie left, you’ll be comfortably in a diabetic coma and you won’t care.