Put down that plastic container of packaged cookies! You will not regret trying these candy covered baked sweets.
I was on a mission to find some festive cookies for Valentine's Day. They had to be adorable (of course) and EASY (sorry Pinterest, I am not an artist with the icing bag). One thing I was looking for was a cookie that stayed thick after baking. My cookies in the past have spread out and become so thin. I wanted magazine worthy, make-your-mouth-water-before-you-even-take-a-bite cookies.
Most of the ingredients are pretty standard for cookie baking...butter, flour, egg, chocolate chips, sugar. The thing that makes these cookies stand out, and stand UP, is Jello pudding mix! Instant vanilla, to be precise. The pudding mix gives the cookies enough structure to stand up to the heat while baking, and allows the cookie holy grail of crunchy on the edges and soft and gooey inside. The M&M's also add just the right crunch. They look so fun, topped with their Valentine colors, to get kids excited, but the flavor and texture is grown-up enough for your pickiest foodie friend.
The other trick to keeping the cookies from spreading is to make sure they are nice and cold when they go in the oven. It is difficult to resist popping them in as soon as you have the cookie mounds formed, but a couple of hours in the refrigerator makes a big difference.
After they are baked, they are such a treat! Soft in the middle, a little flakey from the butter, crunchy from the M&M's, oozy (in a good way) from the chocolate chips. I included the optional salt, and that adds a grown-up savory quality that makes the cookies that much more special.
Click here for the complete details on the recipe. And do your best to share. It's the season of love, after all.