Sunday, March 9, 2014

M&M's® Cookies

I hope my flaming enthusiasm will not be extinguished too soon. My brain activity has been working overtime since I started my blog. But apparently, it has also given me a great sense of satisfaction and contentment which I've not quite felt for a while after I left my last job of more than seven years about six months ago.

However, I must admit that my recent zest is largely attributed to the eagerness to participate in the current and also the last Aspiring Bakers theme event.

I thought I had a "clever" idea when I was staring at the load of items stacked in the cabinet and saw a tube of M&M's® chocolates until I tried to google online that I realised I wasn't as creative after all. Nonetheless, it did not dampen my excitement and I was even more excited to carry out my baking experiment.

M&M's® Cookies

M&M's® Cookies
Recipe referenced and modified from:

Ingredients Required

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
2/3 cup (140 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 small standard tubes of M&M's® Minis (or 1 extra large tube)

Bakeware Used

Two baking sheets with dimensions 15.25"x10.25"x0.75"

Preparation Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (around 177 degrees C).
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, sift and combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, beat butter and both sugars using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Add whole egg and egg yolk and continue beating till well combined. 
  6. Add vanilla extract and beat well.
  7. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl as required. (If batter is too soft, leave batter in bowl covered with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes, or until batter gets firm before shaping).
  8. Using a small ice cream scoop or a measuring tablespoon, form batter into a ball.
  9. Place eight balls of batter on each baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Gently flatten each ball into a two-inch round shape, spacing about two inches apart. It is necessary to space out the flatten dough as the cookie will expand during the baking process.
  11. Top with M&M's® by gently pressing chocolate candies into the flatten dough, as many as fit and desired.
  12. Bake the cookies for about 14 to 17 minutes, rotating the baking sheets by turning 180 degrees halfway through baking time. The cookies are done when they are light golden brown in colour and the edges are just set. Baking time varies depending on oven. Do keep an eye on the cookies from the 10th minute through the baking time and not over-bake as the cookies will continue to firm up as they cool.
  13. Once baked, removed from oven and let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
  14. Once cooled completely, store in air tight containers.

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I substituted light brown sugar (because I ran out of it) with granulated sugar and used only one cup of granulated sugar in total. I personally feel that the sugar amount can be further reduced as the cookies were still a little on the sweet side (because there is still sweetness from the chocolate candies too).
  2. I used an egg measuring 67 grams (with shell) and an egg yolk measuring approximately 15 grams.
  3. I did not refrigerate my cookie batter as it was pliable and not sticky at all.
  4. I separated a small portion of batter and folded some chocolate candies into the batter before forming the balls of dough and noticed that the chocolate candies were not severely discoloured and the colouring of the chocolate candies shell did not quite smudge the batter. 
  5. I used a measuring tablespoon for each ball of batter to form a two-inch flatten dough with about one centimetre thickness.
  6. I used one extra large tube of M&M's® Minis and had about a tablespoonful left. More chocolate candies may be required depending on the number of chocolate candies placed on each cookie. If  using the method of folding the chocolate candies into batter, I would suggest adding a good amount of chocolate candies (more than the recipe states) to make sure each ball of cookie dough gets its well-deserved amount of chocolate candies (then again, this is really a personal preference). Furthermore, the M&M's® Minis may also be substituted with other M&M's® chocolate candies, Smarties, semi-sweet chocolate chips, raisins or peanuts and more! 
  7. I placed the baking sheeting in the middle rack of my oven and baked one sheet at a time.
  8. I baked my first two trays of cookies for about 12 minutes, and the last two trays for 14 minutes as I thought the colour of the cookies from the first two trays were not quite browned. However, the cookies from the last two trays were quite over-baked as they were harder (though crunchier). The crunch of the cookies from the first two trays was just right and tasted better (because the cookies from the last two trays have a hint of bitter burnt taste). 
  9. I made a total of 39 cookies, each measuring about three inches in diameter with a thickness of about half centimetre after they have been baked.

My first tray of baked cookies. Resulted from not leaving enough space between the cookies. The flatten dough were initially spaced out about one to less than one and a half inch apart. 

My third tray of cookies before they were baked. This arrangement is just nice for the size of the baking sheet I am using because the cookies had ample space to "expand" without "joining forces" during the baking process. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the cookies after they were baked.

These baked cookies had the chocolate candies folded into the batter before forming its shape. The discolouration from the coloured shells of the chocolate candies were not as bad as I thought, probably because the batter was not as fluid to cause the coloured shells to smudge.
However, I still prefer the cookies using the press-on method because they are much prettier, and I could get an equal amount of chocolate candies on each cookie. ^_^

I am submitting the M&M's® Cookies to the Aspiring Bakers #40: Rainbow and Ombre Party! (March 2014) hosted by Cynthia of The Baking Biatch.

My Second Baking Post Afterthoughts

Am I getting a hang of blogging or is it because this is an easier bake? I would think it is the latter. I spent approximately three hours drafting this post compared to seven to eight hours or more for my first baking post. Yet another fulfilling experience!

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker

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