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The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie…with M&M’s instead

Ok here’s a quick post because I have to be at work soon.  How rude of them to schedule me on Valentine’s Day.  Last night I made a batch of my favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen.  You know, the absolute geniuses who publish Cook’s Illustrated and my baking bible, Baking Illustrated.  Valentine’s twist?  Pink and red M&M’s in place of the chocolate chips.

The cookies came out perfect, as this recipe always does.  It’s pretty foolproof boys and girls.  Plus it’s fast (dough comes together in about 7 minutes), so if you’re still in need of some Valentine’s treats, here you go!  It’s 2 bowls (wet and dry), plus it involves MELTED butter, which is always a bonus because you don’t have to stand there poking your butter, wondering if it’s “softened” or room temperature.  The only thing I do differently from the recipe (and I do this consistently) is chill the dough before scooping it out.  Even 30 minutes in the fridge seems to help blend the flavors and helps the cookies keep their shape in the oven. I’ve never failed to get rave reviews of these cookies.  They’re exactly that fresh-from-the-professional-bakery quality that people always seem to be searching for.  They’re thick and chewy, and just the right amount of soft in the middle.  If you’d prefer to just make chocolate chip cookies, just sub in semisweet chocolate chips for the M&M’s (same amount).

Chewy M&M’s (or chocolate chip) Cookies

Makes 18 large or 24 medium cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups + 2 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 TBS (= 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups M&M’s or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
2.  Either by hand (super easy) or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and both sugars until thoroughly blended.  Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed just until combined.  Stir (easiest by hand) in the M&M’s or chocolate chips.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until chilled, at least 30 minutes but up to a few hours (perhaps even overnight?). (Chilling the dough at all is optional.  If you don’t have time, skip it!)
3.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325ºF with racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
4.  For large cookies, scoop out 1/4 cup of dough.  Pull the dough ball into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at the base, forming a single ball.  Be careful not to smooth out the top though!  This is key to getting that non-smooth, bakery-looking surface on the cookies.  Place the cookies about 2.5″ apart on the baking sheets.  (For smaller cookies, just use smaller scoops than 1/4 cup.)
5.  Bake cookies until they’re light golden brown and the outer edges begin to set, but the middles are still soft and puffy, about 14-17 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.  Don’t be afraid that they aren’t done!  Like with brownies, the worst thing you can do is overbake these cookies.  Let the cookies finish cooling (and baking) on the baking sheets.  Remove the cookies with a wide metal spatula.  Cookies will keep in an airtight container for a few days (but not really because people eat them really fast).

Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated

Happy Valentine’s Day!! I have one other treat to post later today.  Thanks for reading, and happy baking!

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