To that end, every year, each employee is provided with volunteer opportunities as well as one paid day off to do a group volunteer project sponsored by the company and arranged with our community partners and another paid day off to do a personal volunteer day with any charity we choose.
Last year, my team partnered with another group and volunteered with March of Dimes to set up for their fundraising walk. This year, we partnered again and are volunteering at RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers). We included more groups in our volunteer plans and I (rashly) offered to bake goodie bags for all of the volunteers. Last year, there were 9 of us. This year, 19. I hadn’t expected quite so many but I love a challenge. Whenever I need that many goodie bags, I always plan to make a variety of baked goods, partly to cover a gamut of tastes and partly because, well, I just love to bake. Did that even need to be said?
That meant I had to do most of the baking the night before since I still had a day job to do and I am obsessed about freshness so I have to bake almost everything at the last minute. No one is ever getting “day old” cookies from me. Hours old maybe but not more than 24 hours if I can help it. Baking for 19 on one night is a little tricky but doable as long as I planned ahead. Which is what I did for the week leading up to the event. It’s actually not as hard as it sounds. Brownies are easily made ahead and frozen; when thawed, they’re as good as new/fresh. Cookies are the easiest because I can make the dough ahead of time, put them in the freezer and bake them off at the last minute. So Cookie Palooza began.
First out of the gate was this recipe for Monster Cookies. It doesn’t make very many but that was okay because I wanted to be able to make a bunch of different kinds of cookies. There are no rules that everyone has to get the same exact things in all the goodie bags, right? As long as they get the same amount at least - "fair" does not mean "the exact same". What I liked about these cookies is they hardly spread at all and stayed obligingly thick. They're essentially a peanut butter cookie studded with M&MS and a stray oat here and there. Despite their thickness, they did seem a bit fragile though so I wouldn't recommend mailing them in care packages.
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup m&ms
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 peanut butter chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Start by combining the butter, brown and white sugars in a large bowl using a hand/stand mixer. Add the peanut butter and mix to combine. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to blend.
- Measure in the baking soda and flour and stir just until combined. Stir in the oats, m&ms, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.
- Scoop using a cookie scoop or two teaspoons measuring about 2 tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Press down gently as they do not spread on their own.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes but no longer. You want these to stay soft. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes then move to a cooling rack.