a new kind of M&M cookie

One of my friends always jokes about the “$100 Target tax,” meaning many of us have a hard time going into Target and not hitting triple digits at the register. Without fail, I paid the “Target tax” on my pre-Christmas shopping trip, throwing all sorts of unnecessary things into my cart and sorting it all out when I got home. Buried beneath the Hello Kitty nail polish kit (gift for my toddler niece) and Archer Farms pumpkin lattes (gift for myself) was a bag of Cinnamon M&Ms. Damn you, end caps!

I opened the bag that night and investigated. The M&Ms were about twice as large as original and came in brown and varying shades of red. I bit one in half. The cinnamon flavor was subtle, but present. I ate the second half, and decided I wasn’t crazy about them. One of the best parts of M&Ms is eating them by the handfuls, and these just don’t work like that. They’re too… plump.

I left the opened bag on the table, and there it sat — untouched — for the next few weeks until I had some friends over and wanted to make them a snackable dessert. I was dying to get rid of these M&Ms, and thought they’d be great in some cookies. I took to the Web, and not surprisingly, Picky Palate already had an oatmeal cookie recipe using these things, and she had a similar story with her blogging friend Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod. These cookies are taking over!

adapted slightly from Picky Palate
♦2 sticks of butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbs. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. cinnamon
3/4 c. oats
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1 bag of Cinnamon M&Ms

Beat butter and sugars in stand mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and continue mixing. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients in small increments with mixer on low. Add cinnamon, oats, chocolate chips and M&Ms, reserving a handful to place on top of cookies before baking (for aesthetic flair). Line baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop dough. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Total time? 15 minutes prep, 12 minutes per batch.
Cost? $2.69 M&Ms, $2 oats (and the remainder of your “Target tax”).
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. My only complaint was that these cookies dried out a little fast, despite being kept in a sealed container. (I may have made them a little too thick.) Again, the cinnamon flavor is subtle, but good. They’re not teeming with oats, so you can easily sell picky eaters on these by leaving out that whole “full of fiber and kind of good for you” thing. (Some of my friends said they never would have known they were oatmeal cookies if I hadn’t mentioned it.) They weren’t overly chocolatey, so the non-sweets people will get in on the action, too. Hopefully, you passed these M&Ms during the holidays and your curiosity got the best of you because I’m not sure if they sell these Cinnamon M&Ms after Christmas. If you can’t find them in stores now, bookmark this recipe for next year’s cookie exchange. 🙂

(Oh, and good news: Between the doughnut disaster and the time I made these cookies, I was gifted two brand-new cooling racks!)

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