M&M Cookies with Toffee Peanuts

M&M Cookies with Toffee Peanuts Recipe

It might sound strange, but in my opinion, making cookies is like making risotto. What I mean is that in general, you shouldn't use too many chunky ingredients to accent the cookie dough. I typically make use of whatever I can find in my pantry, and this time I limited the additions to coconut toffee peanuts and M&Ms.

The M&Ms came from a package of goodies from Rutgers University. My father-in-law was inducted into Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni a few years ago and has stayed close to the school. The colors of the Scarlet Knights are faithfully represented in the M&Ms, and I think they add a nice touch of color to the cookies while showing off some school spirit. Thanks, Dean McCormick!

Ingredients

Yields: 32 cookies

1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1-½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup demerara sugar (or more granulated sugar), to taste
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1-¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup M&Ms
¼ cup coconut toffee peanuts, store-bought


Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Making cookie dough:

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set side.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg with granulated sugar for about 5-6 minutes. You'll get a pale, yellow foam and the texture of the egg will be thicker. Add vanilla extract.

In another bowl, cream the butter with the demerara sugar until it forms a uniform paste.

Alternately add the flour mixture and butter to the egg mixture and blend and knead the dough with your fingers until the cookie dough comes together. Finish with the M&Ms and toffee peanuts (I reserved a few for decoration later).

Form a long cookie log. Wrap and chill it in the freezer until firm; it will take at least 30 minutes to harden. If you're planning on storing the dough and baking the cookies later, don't forget to label your food with the date! (see storing tips).


Baking cookies:

Remove the log from the freezer. Unwrap it and slice into about ½-inch thick disks. Place the cookies on baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart, as they'll expand while baking.

Bake for about 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the heat to 350°F and bake for another 8 minutes. (up to 10 minutes depending on how you like the consistency of the cookie). Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I used white Belgian chocolate chips and coconut toffee peanuts from a local market. Milk Pail Market: 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040. You could use any other crunchy ingredients (almonds, candied walnuts).

You could use more sugar. I don't like adding too much sugar in cookies. If you like them sweeter, you could add up to 2-3 more additional tablespoons to the cookie dough.

Demerara sugar is a golden, "raw" (unrefined) sugar. I bake a lot with demerara sugar; it adds a hint of molasses to the baked goods.

You can store the dough for up to 4 weeks in the freezer for last-minute surprise guests. Just cut the un-baked log of cookies into disks when you're ready to bake.

You can store the baked cookies in an airtight metallic tin for up to a week to keep them fresh. Our cookies never last that long!


Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 4, 2011.


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