Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jumbo Candy & Nut Cookies

Jumbo Candy & Nut Cookies - made October 21, 2012 from Land O Lakes Cookies

Here's a recipe to use up any leftover M&Ms from Halloween.  My cousin Christine asked if I wanted to bake something for her son's school bake sale and of course, I'm always happy to test out new recipes support school fundraisers.  Unfortunately the bake sale was on a Friday and I didn't find out about it until Sunday so I wasn't able to stock up on baked goods to freeze until then while I had weekend time to bake. And she would have to pick up the baked goods from me on Thursday night.  Which meant I couldn't really bake much ahead of time during the week since they wouldn't be fresh by Friday and I work all day during the week so my only real baking night would be Wednesday night.  Past experience tells me I am likely to only have enough time to bake 1 thing on Wednesday.  I solved the issue by making cookie dough ahead of time and gave Christine the option that she could either come by late on Thursday night to give me time to bake off all the cookies or she could come by right when I got home from work and pick up the cookie dough from me but she would have to be the one doing the baking.  She opted for the earlier pickup time and baking the cookies herself.

I did manage to get home early enough to bake off 1 batch of these cookies while I waited for Christine to come by (bad traffic on her way home also helped buy me enough time to get these baked).  I had never made these cookies before but had the recipe in my "still need to make" file on my computer.  I did want to bake off a test batch though so I could see and taste how they turned out and be able to show Christine "here's what they're supposed to look like".  Unfortunately these spread more than I expected and they didn't really look like the picture in the Land O Lakes cookie book where I got the recipe from.  They were supposed to be monster-sized cookies with uniform thickness throughout.  Instead, because of the spread, the edges were thinner and baked more quickly while the middles took awhile.  I baked the test batch from frozen dough on my oven's convection setting and I know my butter wasn't even at room temp or warm when I mixed the dough so that wasn't the problem.  They just spread.

Watch the baking time on these.  If you do make them monster-sized, the challenge is the edges will get brown before the middles are done so you risk the outer edges burning while the center may still look raw.  I don't like burnt cookies so I took them out at almost 20 minutes and even then the middles were still a bit underbaked.  But I didn't want the edges to get further brown and burn.  The good news is the cookies were pretty tasty.  The brown sugar caramelized nicely in the dough and the oatmeal gives it a good crunchy and chewy texture.  I would probably either add a bit more flour or else grind up a little oatmeal to thicken the dough and hopefully minimize the spread.  Alternatively, you can do a combination of shortening and butter to make the original 1 cup butter called for in the dough if you want less spread but beware you sacrifice some of the yummy buttery flavor.

1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) bag (2 cups) candy coated milk chocolate pieces (I used chocolate chips)
1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts (I substituted Candy Corn M&Ms)

1.     Heat oven to 350˚F.  In large mixer bowl combine sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy (2 to 3 minutes).  Reduce speed to low.  Add all remaining ingredients except candy and peanuts (or chocolate chips).
2.     Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes).  By hand, stir in candy and peanuts.  Drop dough by scant ¼ cupfuls 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 13 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

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