Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wild Cherry M&M Cookies

OK, first things first. How cute is this guy?

Adam and I went to see the cherry blossoms on Friday, and we spotted this squirrel chowing down on a soft pretzel. Before I did anything else, I had to show you that picture. Now that I’ve shared the cuteness, we can move on to me chowing down on cookies.

Some time last week I was browsing the web and discovered that there are now wild-cherry-flavored M&Ms. I can’t remember where I found out, and I don’t know how long these have been around without me realizing it, but I became fixated on getting some. This weekend I found them on sale at CVS (buy one get one free!) and I knew what I had to do.

I had to make cookies.

I knew right away which recipe I wanted to use. I recently found a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for oatmeal cookies with chocolate chunks and dried cherries. I figured this would be perfect, as I could just replace the chocolate and cherries in the recipe with my M&Ms.

My assessment of these cookies is what you might guess: If you like these M&Ms, you’ll like the cookies; if you don’t, well . . . you get the picture. The M&Ms remind me of the chocolate-covered cherry candies that you sometimes find in boxes of chocolate around Valentine’s Day. They’re very sweet, and the flavor is quite different from the tartness of a dried cherry.

The recipe itself is a good one, no matter which way you decide to go with it. I need to mention though that, as written, this recipe makes 16 huge cookies. You’re supposed to make the batter when your butter has softened but is still cool. I wonder if this step is to keep the cookies from spreading too much, because I let my butter come to room temperature and my cookies spread quite a bit. If you don’t feel like hovering around your butter waiting for it to hit the perfect temperature and softness, you could try setting up your cookies on baking sheets and then popping them in the fridge for a few minutes before baking. Or just make smaller cookies.

Wild Cherry M&M Cookies
Adapted from Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 3/4 cups wild cherry M&Ms
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, and M&Ms.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until no sugar lumps remain. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Finally, with rubber spatula, fold in pecans and M&Ms.

Divide dough evenly into 16 portions, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1-inch thickness. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes, rotate them front to back and top to bottom, then continue to bake until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 8 minutes longer. Do not over bake.

Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.


Holler said...

I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to eat cookies :) I haven't seen those M&Ms, but I am still going to try your cookies.

RecipeGirl said...

How creative you are! These M&M's sound worth trying, and those cookies look absolutely YUM! I haven't spied these in the stores yet.

Psychgrad said...

The squirrel must be in heaven. Major score on the pretzel.

The cookies look good. But, I'm not sure if I'd like the M&Ms. I don't like maraschino cherries, which is the flavour I associate with chocolate covered cherries.

I don't have patience with butter either.

EAT! said...

I love cookies with m&ms!! what a great idea to try one of their new varieties.

giz said...

I've never seen wild cherry M&M's either. Is this something new or is Canada expecting them like 3 years from now?

A grey squirrel - I haven't seen one of those for ages. Our squirrels are black.

Cakespy said...

Oh my, these look so good! I have never seen this hybrid of M+M's but I want to get next to them! Holy yum!

Rob @ I Love Substance said...

I thought those were cranberries first but they aren't!
Looks super tasty.

Elle said...

Those look great! I tried those m&m's a few weeks ago--I loved them, but I love almost anything cherry chocolate. Cute and lucky squirrel, too!

Rachelle said...

Mmm those look really good! Those M&Ms are yummy too!

Anonymous said...

Holy macaroni! Wild cherry M&M's? Never seen those but I 'm on a quest to find some now. Thanks for opening my eyes! Hehe. :-)

noble pig said...

These are adorable and they look so good. I'm making these!

Vicarious Foodie said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! Guess what I discovered today? These cookies actually get *better* the day after making them. The chewiness improves.

giz: I think these are fairly new. Elle said she spotted them a few weeks ago, but I don't think they've been around much longer than that. Hopefully they'll hit your way soon!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

Do you think it would be a sin to have those for breakfast. It is 4.30am and I would love to have a couple with my morning coffee.

Kevin said...

Wild cherry M&Ms sound pretty interesting and the cookies look great!!

Lina said...

I never knew about wild cherry M&M's. Interesting... I gotta try them sometime. By the way, great squirrel pic!

chou said...

I've wondered how those M&Ms would taste ever since I saw the first little bag. And then I shied away. Great idea to stick them in cookies.

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Chowbelly said...

OK - tomorrow I am going on a Wild Cherry hunt!! I havent seen those M&M's in North Carolina, but then again I havent really been looking all that close.

Typically Mrs. Chowbelly is the baker in our family but almost everything on my Chowbelly foodblog is savory - this recipe may make me turn over a new leaf!!

Holler said...

I tried the cookies out tonight, they came out well! I used pistachios in mine, along with choc m&ms and minni choc buttons. They got the thumbs up from Graham. Thanks for the recipe :)

Vicarious Foodie said...

Holler: I'm so glad they turned out well for you! Pistachios sound like a great addition.

Sophie said...

This is so cool! Cherries and chocolate were meant to go together, and in a cookie...definitely :D. I see you're a big food network fan, join the club...only, I've yet to try their recipes. I definitely get inspired by watching the shows, though :).

nicole said...

I haven't seen these M&M's either but your cookies sure do look good.