Right around my birthday, I had the need to recreate the M&M cookies of my youth: soft and chewy on the inside, slightly firm around the edges, and packed with colorful M&Ms. The kind that you knew would give you a stomach ache after eating two, but you had to have four.
It took me a few tries*, but I finally got the cookie I was dreaming of. After tinkering a bit on my own (try number 1 and 2), I found a recipe that was similar to what I was going for. I tested Michelle’s aka the Brown Eyed Baker‘s recipe (try number 3), and it was so so close. However, I wasn’t exactly satisfied until I made a few tweaks of my own (lucky try number 4!).
Here’s the key to making thick and chewy M&M cookies.
Pastry nerd alert! Chewy cookies are not built the same as crispy cookies, and it all comes down to ingredients. These cookies have an extra egg yolk to create that ooey-gooey center. I also use a mix of all purpose flour and bread flour. Bread flour has more protein than regular old all purpose. This bump in protein means more gluten development, which creates a chewier texture.
Besides ingredients, how you bake these cookies determines their final texture. After making the batter, I scoop 2 ounce balls of dough out onto a sheet pan, and then I slightly flatten them with my fingers. A 2 ounce dough ball is quite large, so I only flatten it until it’s about as thick as a hockey puck.
This next step is so important. I chill the dough pucks(?) for at least two hours or overnight, depending on my schedule. Chilling the dough ensures that the cookies won’t spread too fast or too much in the oven, resulting in a thick cookie with a soft center. Can a I get a mmm-hmm??
If presentation is your reason for living, here’s a quick tip. Before popping your cookies into the oven press three or four M&Ms into the very top of your cookie pucks (I’m going with it). Then once they come out of the oven, you can gently press a few more M&Ms into any spots that look bare. Everyone will think, “How do you get such perfect M&M cookies!?!?” And you’ll say, “Oh, I’m just fabulous in all aspects of life.” And then you’ll flip your hair like Kate Middleton, and everyone will applaud.
I may have had too much coffee today… Time to go balance it out with a perfectly soft M&M cookie, because that just feels right.
*Personal Admission #36: It took me four tries and five bags of M&Ms. You know what’s a great snack while baking? M&Ms. Proceed with caution or at least an ounce of will power. I had neither.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 cup M&Ms, plus more for topping cookies
- Line a sheet pan with parchment or a non-stick mat. Set aside.
- Cream butter and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Scrape down bowl and add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- Add both flours, salt, and baking soda. Mix on low until barely combined. You should still be able to see some flour.
- With a rubber spatula, mix in M&Ms by hand.
- Scoop 2 ounce balls of dough and place on prepared sheet. You're not baking the cookies just yet, so they can be closer together.
- Slightly flatten dough balls until they are as thick as a hockey puck. Press three or four additional M&Ms into the top of the cookie.
- Chill dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line three baking pans with parchment or a non-stick mat. Bake cookies 5 to a sheet pan for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown and the tops don’t look wet.
- Gently press additional M&Ms in any bare areas of the cookie.
- Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.