Friday, September 23, 2011


Not that I don't love summer....I's just that the desert summers can seem sooooo  long! So today, at least on the calendar, it's official. Fall is here. The weather is even cooperating a little, providing us with some deliciously cooler mornings!  So let's get this party started with a video of one of my favorite singers, Diana Krall and some gorgeous autumn foilage.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dynamite Autumn Combo Cookie..Peanut Butter and M & M's !n

Since I've had quite a few requests for the big cookies recipe I mentioned here in my Autumn Meal post I thought I'd share them finally.  On a recent Facebook post  I said I was "Autumnizing" my house....making it look and smell like Autumn on the INSIDE even though the temps were still over 100 on the OUTSIDE! It does take some creativity and quite a bit of imagination but it is worth it. This time of year goes by so fast, and as one of my friends pointed out, it will be Christmas (and 2012) before we know it! It's amazing how quickly  time seems to pass....especially once we get into this last part of the year. 

So I took the time late this afternoon to make these cookies just because I felt like it....and nothing can make a home smell better than the smell of cookies in the oven.   Like most good cookie recipes these take very little time....don't you love that about cookies? This is a conglomeration of recipes I've seen over the years that I've tweaked to just the way I like it.....but it's very forgiving and can be played with even more. Gotta warn you though, this version is pretty darn good! Make a batch or two and see if you don't get some instant love going on at your house.

Monster M&M Peanut Butter Cookies



2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter

 1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup peanut butter (crunchy preferred but smooth is fine)
1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar
2 eggs (beaten)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups M&M's (divided)

Step #1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the baking soda, baking powder, and salt with the flour.......sifting it all together is a great way to do a large mixing bowl and set aside. Combine the next ingredients in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, or in the bowl you use for mixing with your hand-held mixer.

Step #2: Using your electric mixer (or it can be done by hand) beat the butter, shortening, and the peanut butter until nice and smooth. Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat until well blended.

Step #3: Add the eggs one at a time....mix a little between each addition....then mix in vanilla.

Step #4: Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time mixing each time until well blended.

Step #5: Fold 3/4 cup of the M&M's into the batter, distributing it as evenly as possible.

Step #6: For really big cookies, scoop out dough using a heaping Tablespoon measure and drop balls onto a cookie sheet. Or actually use a bigger measure to make gigantic ones if you like. Be aware that if you use the Tablespoon measure you should only bake 6 or 8 cookies at a time so they will not run into each other.....even fewer if making the super large ones. If you use a teaspoon measure you can bake a dozen at a time as in most recipes. With a fork dipped in granulated sugar,  flatten each ball slightly making a criss-cross pattern on each.

Step #7: Top each batch of unbaked cookies with remaining M&Ms. Bake in the oven about 9-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11-12 minutes for crispy. After letting them sit for a minute or two remove the cookies from the baking pan with a spatula. Let cool on rack.

HINT: As with all cookies take them out of the oven right before they look done to you. They will continue to bake for a short time after they are removed! Experiment with each cookie recipe you bake to get them just the way you and your family likes them!


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