Cookies filled with rainbows and mistakes

25 Aug 2015

You know those parties or events that are a big deal and planned months in advance? The build up and preparation is incredibly exciting and you plan out perfectly what an absolutely amazing time you're going to have.

And then the actual event arrives and it's a bit... meh. All your perfectly planned ideas of the exaggerated laughs, kisses in the dark and pleasant wine-induced feelings fall away, and you realise you were stupid to imagine anything that great could happen in your mate's kitchen. But then, once you lower you expectations and realise that the people are still just as brilliant as your scenario, even if the kitchen and Sainsbury's-own-cider is letting them down, you end up having a great time anyway.

Well, that was me and these cookies.

When I was growing up, our local bakery made 'rainbow cookies'. Essentially it was a large ginger-style cookie with mini-smarties on top. Oh how I loved them. I can't tall you anything else that bakery sells because I've bought nothing but rainbow cookies from them for 15 years. So when I wandered across the concept of M&M cookies on the internet, I knew that my first attempt at baking cookies was going to be a colourful one.

They were going to be small and doughy. They were going to be stacked high in a beautiful made-for-instagram picture.  They were going to be the kind of cookie a child would squash in their small hand as they gazed at all the different colours.

We can all dream I suppose.

I will admit that the reason these cookies didn't end up how I wanted was all through my own doing. So don't let that put you off having a go.

For M&M cookies, you will need (makes 16):

200g chocolate M&M's
225g baking block (I used stork)
300g plain flour
200g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Put your brown and white sugar, eggs, flour, baking block, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt in a bowl.


Add the majority of the M&M's (remember to save some for the top).

This was my favourite bit to photograph. Look at those colours!!


This is where things started to go a bit wrong... C (my long-suffering sister) wanders into the kitchen to make a cuppa, just as I've finished separating the dough into 16 on the baking tray.

"Aren't you supposed to roll cookie dough into balls?"

I pause. Given she has actually made cookies before, I refrain from my usual sarcastic comment and double check the variety of internet pages I'm using for this recipe.


We both turn to look at my 16 uncooked cookies. They're definitely not neatly rounded balls, more... splodges.

"I don't think it's essential. They'll still taste fine. Put them in anyway?" C suggests.

I sigh but do just that. I squash some more M&Ms on top and pop them all in the oven, setting the timer for 10-12 minutes.

C wanders back out the kitchen which is unlucky on my part because I've now entered I've-buggered-up-mode, meaning I stop thinking sensibly. When the timer goes off, the cookies don't look anywhere near done to me. My inexperienced cooking brain shall later learn cookies are supposed to look like that... but I put them back in the oven. Rookie mistake. Soft, doughy dream slowly drifting away. When C comes back down half an hour later, she finds me desperately confused as to why I'm finding it so hard to get them off the baking tray without them falling apart.

"Mate, leave them to cool for a few minutes..."

In summary, my soft, small, squishy M&M cookies became giant, biscuit blobs. After my last baking attempt, I've learnt not to expect cooking adventures to look like the pictures in the cookbook but I still can't help being disappointed.

However, soon after I start eating them (still warm), the sugar rush makes me care a lot less. They don't look as beautiful and instagram-worthy as I imagined but they still taste damn good. Which is the whole point really.

Kate's learning corner 

Rolling cookie dough into balls

Having researched a variety of cookie recipes, the answer to this conundrum seems to be varied and dependant on what type of cookies you're making. I think the general answer is properly read the recipe and don't get excited and distracted by a big pile of M&M's...

Take cookies out of the oven a minute before they look done

... And definitely don't put them back into the oven several times after they've been in for as long as the recipe says... my bad.