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Soft M&M Cookies

DSC_4083x900The end of April is here, final exams are in full swing, and law school is winding down for good. Throughout my three years of law school I’ve brought many of the treats I’ve made to school. Hungry and stressed out students are always a captive audience for sugary treats. My friends and fellow students would see the pink bakery boxes and swoop in like vultures, which was always kind of funny.

For the most part, I have not enjoyed law school. It’s been a steady hum of anxiety, stress, work, and very little fun… and very little sleep. But a small part of me is sad to see it (and my higher education experience) come to an end. So here’s to the approximately 3,280 cookies I’ve baked and to everyone who ate them!

Soft M&M Cookies
Recipe source: Picky Palate
Print Recipe

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 or 1-1/2 cups mini M&Ms (if you don’t have the minis, regular sized will work)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl cream your butter and sugars until well combined.
3. Add your egg and vanilla mixing to combine.
4. Add your flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt, stirring to combine.
5. Add chips and m and m’s stirring to combine.
6. With a medium cookie scoop, place dough 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Peanut Butter / Chocolate Cookies

DSC_4181x900This is a recipe that went over BIG at school. The chocolate lovers were happy. The peanut butter lovers were happy. And if you didn’t peanut butter or chocolate, you could just eat one half! And don’t be hesitant to try these — they’re easy!

Peanut Butter / Chocolate Cookies
Recipe source: Sally’s Baking Addiction
Print Recipe

Chocolate cookie dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

Peanut butter cookie dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

Make the chocolate dough:
1. Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed.
2. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix it into the wet ingredrients. The dough will be very thick.
4. With a spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the milk and then fold in the chocolate chips.

Make the peanut butter dough:
1. Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed.
2. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Slowly mix in the baking soda, flour, and salt. Do not overmix.
4. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Chill both doughs for at least 2 hours.

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. Line cookie sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
3. Measure 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Take 2 Tablespoons of chocolate cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Smoosh the two balls together and roll them into 1 large ball.
4. Repeat for each cookie.
5. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes. The cookies will look very soft, puffy, and almost undone. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet and they will continue to “bake” and set up. As the cookies cool, they will firm up. Cookies remain fresh (and soft) for up to 10 days in an airtight container.

Makes a couple dozen cookies.

Bakery Review: National Bakery

nationalNational Bakery has become one of my favorites in Milwaukee. In addition to bakery treats, they also sell deli meats and sandwiches. They have three locations in Milwaukee, but I always visit their 16th Street store. Every time I’ve been here, it’s been a pleasant experience because I think they have the nicest staff of any business in Milwaukee. Seriously. Here are more thoughts!

  • Their seasonal sugar cookies are really tasty – and some have the old school air-brushed designs!
  • So. Many. Pastries. You name it, they sell it — donuts, danish, coffee cakes, tarts, tortes, muffins, etc.
  • They also have plenty of pre-packaged cakes, cupcakes, and other treats — in case you need to pop in and grab some treats for a party or event.
  • There’s a nice parking lot next to the building, as well as plenty of street parking.


Butterscotch Chocolate Star Cookies

DSC_4131x900These cookies, or some version of them, have become my go-to recipe. I make these for my friends at school quite a bit because they always disappear within hours, which I take a sign of their deliciousness. The cookies are HUGE and you can make modifications to the original recipe to put a different twist on them. The original recipe involves a hint of cinnamon and a variety of chocolate chips. I changed these up a bit :) Enjoy!

Butterscotch Chocolate Star Cookies
Recipe modified from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
Print Recipe

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate stars
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
Plus extra chocolate stars for the top of each cookie

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large separate bowl beat butter with both sugars together on low until creamy about 1 minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
4. Gradually beat in flour mixture 1/4 at a time. Stir in all the chocolate chips.
5. Drop dough by level 1/4 cups 2 – 3 inches apart onto the baking sheets. [I used an ice cream scoop for this – it worked great!] Place 3 or 4 chocolate stars on the top of each scoop of dough [this is optional, but it makes the cookies look prettier when they come out of the oven]
6. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Store in tightly covered containers in a cool, dry place up to 5 days. Makes about 24 large cookies.

Bakery Review: Grebe’s

DSC_4968x900Happy Milwaukee Day! April 14th is Milwaukee Day because 4/14 = 414, which is Milwaukee’s area code. The Milwaukee Day concept is relatively new, but it’s gaining momentum and there are countless promotions, deals, and ideas floating around social media to celebrate our city. I have less than a month left in Milwaukee, a city that I have come to adore. Milwaukee isn’t perfect — it is rough around the edges, but also filled with charm, vibrancy, and amazing food. Aside from law school, I’ve loved my three years here and will be genuinely sad to leave.

I wrote myself a little list of Milwaukee places that I must try before I move away. Grebe’s Bakery was on that list. I drove there a few weeks ago to try some of their treats!

  • Those sprinkled donuts in the photo above? Amaaaaaazing. But then again, I’ve never met a donut that I haven’t liked.
  • I tried a frosted Easter sugar cookie, which was also great. The frosting was delicious — and this is coming from a girl who could do without frosting.
  • Those cake pops though? Blech! They were cracked and dried out, sadly. But this just confirms my ongoing thought that cake pops are generally pointless and are rarely good.
  • Grebe’s is located on the south side of Milwaukee. They have a nice parking lot (yay!) and an awesome retro sign.
  • Grebe’s also serves hot food, but I didn’t give any of it a try so I can’t comment. The place smelled of donuts and ham though, so there’s something for everyone at Grebe’s!