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
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.