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March 17, 2014

Most Fantastic Cookies Ever

Over here in Tulear - I bake/cook/invent a LOT - much more than I ever did in America...and the thing is I love it.  Cooking has become somewhat of an outlet/hobby of sorts for me.  I enjoy knowing what substitutes for what in recipes and how to throw things together that are available to me and know we'll all enjoy eating it for supper.  This has never been a food blog, so I guess I've never really thought to share recipes on it BUT I just can't go any longer without sharing one of them with you.

First let me say that I'm not a cookie fan - unless it's an Oreo or maybe a hot cookie from Subway or McAllisters OR a hot chocolate chip one from Pillsbury (but hey I'd also just eat the dough - anybody else?!?!)  Okay, so maybe I am a cookie fan but more of a "pop it out of a refrigerated dough" type gal.  However, these are SUPER easy and they are seriously one of the best cookies I've ever had.  They are my go to recipe over here and I highly suggest you try them the next time you're wanting something sweet!

A few notes before we start...they are called M&M Sugar Cookies...however M&Ms are not normally available here and my husband has said from the beginning that I should use the chocolate chips we have.  I was appalled - I mean seriously? Chocolate Chips in a SUGAR cookie?!?!  However, I gave in (because we had no M&Ms) and used our chocolate chips (& maybe even some pecans - thanks Nanna!) and oh my...they are delicious...I hope he hurries back from the bush or I might just have to make up a new batch!!

Food bloggers - forgive me there are no pictures...this should not influence your decision to make these!!

M&M Sugar Cookies
Gather your supplies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/4 cups M&M's

Enjoy your time in the kitchen:

1. (Do not do this.  Lesson learned.  Step 4 tells you to refrigerate dough for 2-3 hours so WHY would you preheat the oven now?!?!?) 
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl (no need to stir them together yet). Put the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a pie plate and set aside. Pour the warm butter over the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine - the mixture won't be completely smooth yet, that's fine. Whisk in the oil then the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

4. Use a rubber spatula to start folding the dry ingredients into the wet. When the dry ingredients are partially incorporated, add 3/4 cup of the M&M's to the dough. Continue mixing until a soft dough comes together. (Don't wait to add the M&M's until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated - you'll end up overmixing.) Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

5. Portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a cookie scoop, using about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Working quickly (if you handle the dough too much you're more likely to wind up with flat cookies), roll the dough into a ball with your hands then roll in the sugar set aside in the pie plate previously. Repeat until you've used all of the dough, placing 12 cookies on each baking sheet.
6. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the dough balls into discs that are about 2 inches in diameter. Gently press 3 more M&M's into the top of each cookie. NOTE: Your M&Ms on top will crack from the heat while baking so I wait to put the M&Ms on top of the cookie until right after they come out of the oven. Just press how ever many your want on top right when they come out and they won't crack!

7. Bake the cookies, 1 tray at a time, for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set (do not wait until the edges or brown or the cookies will be over done….you want these to be a soft chewy cookie).
8. Remove from oven and press the M&Ms on top if you haven't already put them on top. The tops of the cookies will be puffy and slightly cracked. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to the rack to cool completely.
Makes about 24 cookies.

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