#HousefulOfCookies: Ready for you, Santa!

I miss baking, which I used to do much more frequently.

Thanks to Natasha and #HousefulOfCookies, I’m back in the baking business, at least for one batch of Soft and Chewy M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I’m sharing a recipe from Averie Cooks, and hope you’ll join ALL the bloggers in the hop. You’ll be well-prepared for any cookie exchanges you have on tap in December AND for any visitors who hail from the North Pole!

Here’s what “getting back in business” looks like:

Holiday Cookies

Here’s what “getting back in business” tastes like:

Holiday Cookies

And the recipe:

Soft and Chewy M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies (by Averie Cooks)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (1/4 cup light and 1/4 cup dark is ideal)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

3/4 cup M&Ms, plus more for adding to the mounds of dough

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for adding to the mounds of dough

Directions:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I used a large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix (DRY – not made into pudding!), baking soda, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the M&M’s, chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds (I hand-stirred this — I don’t think my mixer was up to it!).
  4. Form 12 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Tip — Place a few M&Ms and chocolate chips on top of each mound of dough by taking M&Ms and chips from the underside as well as adding more as necessary for a nice pop of color. (I used red and green for the holidays.)
  5. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading. (Note — don’t be like me and read this part at 9 pm! OOPS.)
  6. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (Averie does 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 10 to 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. It is not necessary to use a rack.
  7. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

And here’s what “I’m ready for ya, Santa” looks like:

Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookies

What’s YOUR favorite holiday cookie?

Holiday Cookies

Chocolate Delight (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

When Random.org┬áhanded me Mama’s Losin’ It prompt number three this week, my friend Merrio’s go-to dessert that she brings to almost every office pot luck came immediately to mind. The prompt was: Share a favorite dessert recipe.

This recipe is technically called “Chocolate Delight” but it has a naughtier nickname. I’ll get to that.

I had a plan – I would prepare the dessert over two nights (there is a little baking, a little softening (cream cheese), a little thawing, and a little chopping involved), take some pictures, and time it so I could get this blog post up then provide a nice dessert to my coworkers on Friday, after the weekly Biggest Loser Challenge weigh-in.

The problem is: I kept messing things up! I failed to thaw the whipped topping before mixing it in. I used all of the whipped topping instead of 1.5 cups, which left me completely without a white layer to go on top of the chocolate layer. The crust got hard in the refrigerator waiting for me to assemble the rest of the dessert.

What I ended up with is something passable enough for pictures:

And actually still pretty tasty (but not up to my good-enough-to-take-to-work standards).
When made right, though, it’s fantastic.
I really recommend you give it a whirl, like Merrio’s mom and her friends have been doing for a long time (I love the “vintage” look of the recipe):

Once you try it (and do a better job than I did of following the directions), you’ll know why the dessert’s nickname is “Better Than Sex” cake!

Nom nom nom.

Mama's