Wednesday, August 26, 2009

College Spirit Cookies

Now going into my fifth year of the "summer exodus," wherein one or both of our kids return to school after a whirlwind few months of summer at home, I feel like I've established a bit of a routine that begins a week or two prior...making sure all the essentials for the new term are gathering, bought and/or packaged; that flights are booked; accounts are balanced. Once the "exodus" is completed, I then get to business on realigning our lives to our pre-summer status, sans our twenty-somethings...and reorganizing our "feathered nest" (I refuse to go the "empty nest" route of referral!). In this process, I usually plan some sort of care package...just a fun little something sent from home during the first month of the new school year. At the beginning, these packages were truly "care" oriented in that they brought a little bit of home to our newbie students, away from us for the first time. Now, they are just fun mailings. With one graduated (and gainfully employed now!) and one finishing up in another two years, the now singular packages are just fun to make...and, as I'm to receive. 

Coming across these great M&M chocolates at our local Michael's craft store, I thought that our Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe could be morphed to add these colorful candies AND make a great Spirit Cookie to celebrate the new college year and kickoff of football season! The range of colors offered is, blue, green, gray, orange, yellow, purple, etc...not only making them a great addition for these cookies but for any special occasion (e.g. baby shower, wedding shower). 

A little overly excited about my sweet discovery, I decided to make care packages for our youngest, and for two of our nieces...the colors were just too perfect!

College Spirit Cookies
makes 24-28 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup M&Ms
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and oats in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugars and mix until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix on medium speed until incorporated.

3. Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well incorporated.

4. Fold M&Ms, chocolate chips and pecans into batter.*

5. Spoon enough cookie batter to make a 1-1/2" ball and place rolled dough onto cookie sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.

*Note: If you are making a few different color varieties, simply divide your dough prior to adding the chocolates and nuts.

6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

7. Package and send!!