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Christmas candy brown sugar cookies

I may not celebrate Christmas, but I LOVE the holiday themed candy that comes around the holiday season. My M&M brown sugar cookies are one of my most popular recipes and I knew I wanted to make them with a holiday twist.


This cookie dough has only one type of sugar - light brown sugar. Typically in my cookie recipes I use a mixture of both, but the brown sugar in this recipe leads to a perfectly soft and gooey center and you still get the crisp around the edges you look for in a chocolate chip cookie.


You might be asking, what makes these cookies "Christmas" themed? The first, and more obvious answer, is the use of red and green M&Ms. I bought a bag of specially colored ones for the holidays, but this gives flexibility too if you wanted to make these for another holiday - blue maybe for Hanukkah, red for Valentine's day. The other piece is the use of holiday Reese's, specifically the use of mini Reese's trees in this recipe. I love the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate in the holiday Reese's so I like to use them in recipes when I can (like in these Reese's cookie bars). You could absolutely sub in another holiday Reese's or plain old regular sized or mini Reese's.


A great perk of this recipe is that there is a minimal chill time (about an hour) and no fancy equipment needed. You could use a mixer if you have one and would like to, but I find that a spatula and butter that is truly at room temperature are the two keys to making this recipe successfully without any need for a mixer. If you do choose to use a mixer, I still recommend mixing in your M&Ms and chopped Reese's by hand.


Like many of my other cookie recipes, this is a great dough to freeze once scooped. You could make the dough ahead of the holidays and then bake them fresh for your friends and family, or you can save the scooped dough for another day when you may crave a holiday themed, fresh baked cookie.


For scooping your cookie dough, I love these scoops from Cook'n Feel (I use the medium scoop usually for these cookies) or this large scoop from Oxo.


Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup full size M&Ms (holiday colors encouraged)

  • 5 mini Christmas tree Reese’s (about 3 oz)

Total time: About an hour and a half including chill time

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Chill time: 1 hour (up to 12 hours)

Bake time: 10-12 minutes

Servings: 10 cookies


Equipment:

  • Spatula or large spoon

  • Plastic wrap

  • Cookie sheets

  • Scooper (2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons)

  • Parchment paper


Cooking instructions: If you haven't already, remove your butter from the fridge. It should be soft to the touch before you start.


Measure out your half cup of M&Ms and put them into a plastic bag. Use any flat tool (the backside of a pan, a meat tenderizer, or even a hammer) to partially crush your M&Ms. This doesn't have to be perfect, but the goal is for most or all to be crushed into halves or thirds. Set your crushed M&Ms aside.


Chop your Reese's trees into bite sized pieces using a sharp knife and then place them into the fridge to firm up. In a large bowl, use a spatula or large spoon to mix together your room temperature butter and brown sugar. If your butter isn't at room temperature (it should be very soft to the touch), you can place it into the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Use your spatula or large spoon to thoroughly combine your butter and sugar, pressing them into one another, until you no longer see any streaks of butter.


Next, add in your egg and vanilla extract. Use the same utensil to fully incorporate everything together, mixing for about 1-2 minutes with speed until your mixture lightens slightly in color and is fully combined. To your mixture, add all of your dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, and salt. Move slowly and carefully combine your dry ingredients into your wet being sure not to over mix.


Reserving some of your crushed M&Ms and a few pieces of cut up Reese's, add the rest into your cookie dough and fold them in. Cover and gently press plastic wrap onto your cookie dough. Place your dough into the fridge to chill for about an hour (up to 12 if you have the time but 1 hour will be plenty). When your dough is done chilling, remove it from the fridge. If it's been in the fridge for a more than two hours, it may need some time to come down closer to room temperature.


Onto parchment lined cookie sheets, use a cookie scoop or large spoon to portion out your dough. It should make 10 cookies, about 2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons per scoop. Gently press your reserved M&Ms and chopped Reese's onto the tops of your scooped dough balls, then use the palm of your hand to gently press down and flatten the tops of your dough. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and while your oven is preheating place your cookie sheets back in the fridge. Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes. You can do this all at the same time or one tray at a time. If you do multiple trays, be sure to rotate them halfway through. Allow your cookies to cool and enjoy!


Your baked cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container, once cooled, for about 3-4 days in the fridge. Before enjoying, remove from the fridge so that the cookies can come to room temperature. You can also place the cookie in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. If you don't plan to enjoy the cookies within a day or so, I recommend freezing the unbaked scoops of dough instead of baking it all. To do this, you can place the scooped cookie dough onto a baking sheet and into the freezer for 12-24 hours. Then, transfer your frozen dough to a plastic bag or airtight container and store in the freezer. When you're ready, you can bake from frozen at 325 degrees for 13-15 minutes.

Note: You can also make these cookies in a smaller size. If you do, you can keep the temperature the same, but keep an eye on the cookies after about 5-6 minutes to test for the best time. I would definitely recommend baking a couple of tester cookies if you go this route! Carb and serving info: Carbs for full recipe: 371 Servings: 10 Carbs per serving: 37 Carbs from M&Ms in full recipe: 128

Carbs from Reese's in full recipe: 48

Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.

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