Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cookies: Perhaps the Most Versatile of Treats

Don't get me wrong- as far as I'm concerned, cake will always be the tastiest dessert to ever exist, but cookies certainly can give them a run for their money: Cookie dough truffles, ice cream sandwiches, giant skillet cookies...don't even get me started on Oreo's...we'll be here all night. It had been awhile since I made cookies, so this week I went back to an oldie but a goodie: M&M cookie pie. Yes, cookies truly are a dessert that is delectable in absolutely any form. Find me a person who doesn't like cookies, and I'll show you someone who's clearly lost their mind. But I suppose in the end that just means more cookies for us. So keep on winning with this cookie pie recipe!
Plus, cookies also pair well with sprinkles, and you all know how much I love those!
 I was obviously still coming off a colorful dessert high after that sugar skull cake from last week when I decorated my cookie pie a few days ago. True to form, I'm still finding nonpareils and star sprinkles practically all over my house. When I sprinkle, I do so with some serious gusto. It would probably behoove me to throw down a painter's tarp before ever engaging in kitchen activity. The mess was worth it though because this M&M cookie pie practically melts on the know, in your mouth, not in your hands as M&M's are supposed to. No false advertising there!
What? You don't buy your M&M's by the pound, too?
I like how they call this the "party size" bag of M&M's, like I'm ever going to share them with a damn soul. Pfft. How presumptuous. The ingredients for this pie are mostly items you probably already have stored in your pantry, minus the 35-pound bag of M&M's.  And, yes, of course there's butter. Always with the butter. It is the foundation for practically everything that has ever tasted good in the history of cooking.
I love you, butter.
Start by mixing together half a cup of brown sugar with 3/4 cup of butter at room temp, or in my case, slightly melty because I didn't want to wait that long and nuked my sticks for 30 seconds in the microwave. Make sure to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl as it blends so you can lick your spatula after. You're welcome.
I haven't forgotten about you either, vanilla extract.
Once your glorious butter-sugar paste is mixed, throw in an egg and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix together for about a minute until things are a little frothy from the egg yolk.
Where would we be without flour...
In a rather odd measurement, add in one cup and one tablespoon of flour (the All Purpose variety, as it is the most multifaceted of the flours) and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. You've now got the cookie dough all put together, minus the piece de resistance...the one, the only, M&M's.
I had a bit of a flour mishap, don't judge me.
Finally, add in one heaping cup of M&M's. I could've just stopped myself right there and eaten the whole cup, but I persevered knowing one of the greatest parts of making this cookie pie was on the horizon: The eating of the leftover cookie dough in the mixing bowl. It has been a few days, and I never did die of salmonella, so this only furthers my belief that raw cookie dough is too pure and delicious to ever make a living soul ill. It lives to serve your taste buds.
I had not licked this particular spatula yet. Yet being the keyword there. Hank was also helping at this point.
Preheat the oven to 325 if you don't plan on eating this whole pie raw (no judgement if you do, you're my hero), and grease a pie tin. Simply plop all your dough into the pie tin and use a spatula to smooth things out. I find it easiest to start in the middle and work outward in a spiral/circle direction to flatten everything out. I love perfection and an evenly-baked cookie pie, so that's how I got mine to behave itself. Fortunately for me, this spiraling left a lovely deposit of cookie dough on the spatula. Once done licking my spatula, I moved on to "cleaning" out the inside of my mixing bowl before actually cleaning out the inside of my mixing bowl with soap and water. This pie finishes baking around the 25 minute mark. It will need some time alone to settle and cool off before you frost it. While I usually advocate shoving things into the freezer or fridge to quicken the process, this smelled way too good to place behind closed doors, so I left it to cool for about 90 minutes. Those were the longest 90 minutes of my life. Those were like, DMV minutes or something. Painfully slow and full of massive anxiety.
Nothing, not even cookies, are complete without frosting.
I suppose you could call it a day and eat the cookie pie without any icing, but we've come this far, and what dessert isn't benefited by a nice frosting layer? None, that's what. I simply used chocolate decorator frosting so my stars would retain their shape, but any of your favorite tub icing would work here, really. I loaded up a piping bag with a 1M tip and got to work.

Simply hover the tip above the pie and pipe out a mound of stars.
Yes, very technical, I realize that...
But it looks so pretty when you're done!!
Again, you could stop here and call it a day, but what dessert isn't also benefited by a nice frosting layer WITH NONPAREILS? I mean, we're actually probably about 50/50 at this point because not everything in the world actually needs sprinkles (looking at you, regular pie), but cookie pie certainly is one of those desserts that just keeps getting funner and funner with each sprinkle added.
I started with a base coat of regular nonpareils.
The dog almost lost it because tiny sprinkles were flying EVERYWHERE,
but they're so tiny he couldn't find them. Poor Hank.
And I finished off the colorful confection with some stars.
If I had hearts, clovers, horseshoes, and balloons,
I probably would've added those for good measure, too.
There you have it! This is such an easy dessert to make, and I feel like I earned it after kicking ass and taking names with my Halloween desserts, yes, plural, last week. I realize that not every dessert has to be crazy complicated, but everything about me is crazy complicated so most of my desserts reflect that as I am the struggling artist in charge. Its been awhile, but I'm fairly certain this is another one of those "red flag" moments. Roll your eyes at my crazy all you want- but you can't deny you'd be all over this cookie pie if you were in my house right now! I mean, we've already polished half of this sucker off!
Can you blame us?
As I reel in the aftermath of Halloween (I'm already bothered by the startling amount of Christmas commercials on TV), this cookie pie is helping me transition from spooky, delectable desserts back to neutral, delicious ones. I still believe in a month called "November," so you won't catch me showing you how to bake any Christmas treats until December. I mean, we've got a whole other holiday to cover first! So leave it to me to come up with something to help you survive Thanksgiving and add to the dessert table with next week's blog. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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