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I intended to make these with Halloween-themed M&M's, but I didn't find any, so you're just going to have to pretend. One of my chief complaints about M&M cookies is that the candies are so sweet that the overall effect can be something that appeals only to those who are 10 and under. But this recipe is just the thing--not too sweet and the generous quantity of vanilla along with a hint of nutmeg give them a flavor I can only describe as perfect.
from The Essential Crunchy Sugar Cookie recipe in The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
1/4 cup (1 5/8 oz.) vegetable shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (this is 1/2 stick, or 2 oz.)
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (2 oz.) milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon white vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, a whole tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I grated my own with a microplane grater and used about 1/2 teaspoon just because it ends up being so fluffy)
2 cups (8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups M&M's*
additional granulated sugar for tops of cookies
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (Alternatively, you can grease the baking sheets.)
Using a stand mixer (or sturdy electric hand mixer and a large bowl), cream shortening, butter, and sugar for approximately 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.
In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Add this to the butter mixture, beating until well combined. The mixture will look curdled, but this is fine.
Add nutmeg, flour, baking soda, and salt while mixer is off. Start beating on slowest speed and gradually increase to medium-low, beating until the mixture forms a cohesive dough. Add M&M's and beat or stir until candies are evenly distributed throughout.
Use a cookie scoop, spoon, or your hands to form dough into 1.5-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten the balls to 1/4 inch thick.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating sheets on top and bottom racks halfway through. When done, the cookies should be a light gold color and just beginning to brown around the bottom edges. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight plastic container or ziplock bag for up to 1 week.
*A "medium" bag of M&M's contains 1 3/4 cups, which works fine for this recipe, but if you spring for the "large" bag, you'll have a full 2 cups and some leftovers to much on, which may be either a positive or a negative depending on your perspective.
October is here. Pure direct marketing of processed sugar for the next 31ish days.