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  1. Tuesday, July 7

    I’m About to Give You the Best Oatmeal Cookie Recipe Ever. Are You Ready?

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Brace yourselves. Today I am giving you the best oatmeal cookie recipe ever. Well, the best chocolate chip M&M oatmeal cookie recipe ever. No, really. I haven’t met a cookie this addictive in quite some time. I even made myself sick to my stomach a few weeks ago eating too many, like a 6-year-old the day after Halloween. Not one of my finer moments. But I digress…

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Back to the cookies. These cookies are delicious, with wonderful flavor and texture. Additionally, these cookies are made with oil instead of butter. The original recipe says you can use coconut oil or olive oil. I have made them with half olive oil half coconut oil, and I’ve also made them with just coconut oil. I prefer the 100% coconut oil version. If you decide to use olive oil, I would recommend regular olive oil instead of extra virgin as extra virgin olive oil has more olive flavor.

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Okay, so, the recipe. I begged this recipe off of my girls’ piano teacher, Jody. She has no idea where she got it from, so we just call them Jody’s Oatmeal Cookies. If I ever track down the source, I’ll be sure to let you know! For now Jody gets credit for bringing these beauties into our lives.

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Jody's Oatmeal Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    These Chocolate Chip M&M Oatmeal Cookies are some of the most addictive cookies I've ever eaten. You've been warned.
    Author:
    Serves: 3 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 2½ cups old fashioned oats
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup melted coconut oil (if your coconut oil is already liquid at room temp, you're all set. if it is solid, a few seconds in the microwave will melt it enough)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ¾ cups chocolate chips
    • 1¼ cups plain M&Ms
    • (I supposed you could do 2 cups of raisins instead of chocolate chips and M&Ms, but I'm a chocolate girl. If you go with raisins, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
    2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the salt and baking soda and stir well. Add the oats, flour and both sugars and mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated together. The dough might be crumbly. (Add a teeny bit of oil of needed - I have not ever added any extra oil myself). Alternatively you can mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and M&Ms in a large bowl all at once, but I find adding the ingredients in the order listed above makes it easier to mix the ingredients together evenly.
    3. Mix in the chocolate chips and M&Ms.
    4. Form cookie dough balls about 2 tablespoons in size and place on cookie sheet. The dough is tricky to work with, just be patient! Use your hands to really squeeze the dough into a ball. You may have to tuck the M&Ms and chocolate chips inside and underneath the cookie to get it to hold together on the tray.
    5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies begin to lightly brown on top but don't overcook.
    6. Cook all the dough into cookies as the cookie dough balls don't hold together well for freezing and dough is easier to work with when it is just made. Store baked cookies in an airtight container.
    Notes
    The original recipe says you can use coconut oil or olive oil. I have made them with half olive oil half coconut oil, and I've also made them with just coconut oil. I prefer the 100% coconut oil version. If you decide to use olive oil, I would recommend regular olive oil instead of extra virgin as extra virgin olive oil has more olive flavor.

     


  2. Thursday, December 19

    The Girls’ Birthday Cakes + Chocolate M&M Frosting

    One of the only over-the-top-Mom things I do is make fun cakes for my kids’ birthdays. Cate and Anna had both of their birthdays this week so I’ve been a busy baker! Anna opted for a vanilla cake shaped like a fish. Cate decided to go with chocolate cupcakes topped with M&M frosting. I wanted to share the cakes with you, since I always do, as well as the recipe for the frosting because it was YUMMMMMMMMM.

    chocolate m&m frosting from @janemaynard

    Anna’s cake was inspired by a goldfish in the Cakes for Kids book by Matthew Mead that we love so much! The cake is essentially a 2-layer cake (8 inches or 9 inches works) with a thin crescent cut off the top or each layer before frosting. Those crescent pieces become the fins. The frosted layer cake gets tipped up on its side and and then the fins are added, with toothpicks securing the top and back fins. I think this might have been the hardest cake I’ve made so far, surprisingly. It didn’t come out as cute as I’d hoped but it did come out better than I expected! 😉 Anna was completely happy with the cake and that is all that matters!

    anna's fish birthday cake from @janemaynard

    I think what made this cake so tricky was that I made the fins a different color than the body (to look more like Flounder from The Little Mermaid), but it’s hard enough attaching those fins without having to worry about the frosting colors mixing. Bottom line: this cake was hard but we made it work!

    anna's fish birthday cake from @janemaynard

    Cate took it easy on me and just wanted chocolate cupcakes with M&Ms. I decided an M&M frosting would be good and took inspiration from a recipe on the blog Cookies & Cups. I changed the recipe to a chocolate buttercream frosting and made it a little thinner. The frosting was fudgy and crunchy and oh-so-delicious. Quick note: when the frosting is just made, the M&Ms are still crunchy, but as it sits, the M&Ms get softer. This is not a bad thing, but it goes from crispy M&M fudge frosting to chunky-chocolate fudge frosting. Just wanted to set expectations properly! If you can whip up the frosting last minute, that’s what I would do! This is not to say that we haven’t happily enjoyed the leftovers!

    chocolate m&m frosting from @janemaynard

    If you’d like to see the misadventure I had when I started to frost the cupcakes, click here. Fair warning, it’s scary! Moral of the story? Always use a star tip when piping chocolate frosting. And that’s all we’ll say about that!

    Chocolate M&M Frosting
     
    Prep time
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    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted into the bowl
    • 1 cup M&Ms, processed to a coarse dust in the blender
    Instructions
    1. In a stand mixer or with beaters, beat together all of the ingredients on medium-high speed until well-mixed. Spread on cake or cupcakes and eat immediately! M&Ms will be crunchy at the outset but will soften as the frosting sits.

     


  3. Thursday, December 12

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies {and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway!}

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading because the cookie recipe is FABULOUS. Also, the winner is announced at the end!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Today marks the end of Gifts & Giveaways. I know, I’m sad, too. But we are ending this little shindig with a bang. But before we get to that…

    When I was growing up, my family was a bit obsessed with mint M&Ms. I remember my mom would spot them at the store at the beginning of the holiday season and would snag them as fast as she could. (Fun fact: I grew up on a hill overlooking the town where M&Ms are made and it smelled like chocolate in the early mornings. Also, mint M&Ms are not made in that factory but in a different place because the mint flavor basically takes over anything it touches – I hope you all appreciate those high-maintenance M&Ms!)

    chocolate mint M&M cookies from @janemaynard

    Now that I’m a grown up, whenever I see mint M&Ms at the store my instinct is to start hoarding. My common sense, however, reins my instinct in and keeps me from spending all my money on those little minty treats. Thank goodness for practical, boring common sense. But I do still buy a few bags every year and enjoy them immensely!

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    I’m going to switch topics completely for a minute but I promise it will all come together. Meet Candy. She’s my new Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl. Her name is kind of a mouthful that’s why we call her Candy for short. I love her because she’s GORGEOUS. Yes, I am that shallow. I mean, that GLASS BOWL. And that SHINY RED PAINT JOB. I could stare at her all day.

    I have a white professional series KitchenAid mixer that Nate gave to me years ago. Old trusty is still around but has been relegated to the shelf in the garage in favor of the younger, hotter model. I told you I was shallow. But I do love how Candy works, too. She’s much quieter and, oh, that glass bowl.

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    Back to M&Ms (are you experiencing blog whiplash yet?). I really wanted to make chocolate cookies this week with mint M&Ms. Most chocolate cookies fall a little flat and I wanted something that could stand up to the M&Ms, both in shape and flavor. Then my friend Irvin shared his recipe for Chocolate Crackle Cookies last week and I knew it was the cookie recipe I had been looking for all my life. Well, all my week, at least.

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    I was right. These chocolate mint M&M cookies are PERFECT. Truly. They have wonderful texture, with a nice crispy outside and a rich, chocolatey interior. The mint from the M&Ms is not overpowering and gives you a fresh pop of flavor. These cookies are perfect for giving as gifts during the holidays, that is if you can stop yourself from eating them all yourself! (Recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Wouldn’t you like to make those cookies in a candy apple red artisan stand mixer with a glass bowl? I mean, the way the chocolate mixes with the butter, it just looks so pretty through that glass!

    GIVEAWAY TIME!

    One of you unbelievably lucky people is going to win a Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl (retail value $399.99), just like mine! WOOHOO!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Wednesday, 12/18/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    Good luck and happy mixing!

    The randomly-selected winner was comment #168 Itzia – one of her bonus entries got her the prize, but her original comment was, “I love anything with mint. Yum!” Well, Itzia will love these cookies AND her beautiful new mixer! Congrats!

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies
     
    I slightly adapted this recipe from Irvin Lin at Eat the Love. Irvin’s original Chocolate Crackle Cookie Recipe is wonderful, with a great technique for making the powdered sugar coating especially white and pretty. The ingredients for the cookie base are exactly like Irvin’s recipe, but I change up the technique a bit for my M&M purposes.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ cup cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup milk
    • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 9.9-ounce package mint M&Ms
    • Granulate sugar for coating cookies (about ½ cup)
    Instructions
    1. If you are using a block of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chop it. I used Guittard’s bittersweet chocolate chips (63% cacao). Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
    2. Cream butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until ingredients are of a paste consistency. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg. Beat in the vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until just mixed but thoroughly combined.
    3. Sift cocoa powder over dough then beat until mixed. Add milk and beat until mixed. Add the flour and beat until just mixed but fully incorporated.
    4. Stir in M&Ms by hand with a strong spoon. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Form cookie dough balls (with your hands or a scoop – I used my medium-sized scoop, which is about 2 tablespoons). Place cookie dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. At this point you can either bake the cookies or store the dough until later (for storing, place the cookie dough balls in a large ziploc bag and store in the fridge or freezer).
    5. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Roll cookie dough balls in granulated sugar, coating well. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 13 minutes, until cookies are just set and are starting to “crackle.” Cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then finish cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
    6. Makes about 40 cookies.

    Big thank you to KitchenAid for hosting this giveaway! I received a mixer from KitchenAid but all opinions are 100% my own.