So I was making these candy flags last month. I had navy and white candies, but I needed a small amount of red candies to finish the design, so I bought a medium-sized bag of M&Ms. After sorting through the candies, I had a pathetic little pile of reds, barely enough to even call a “pile.” Sighing like the martyr that I am, I hustled myself back to Target and bought another bag.
This bag, the second bag? Had a grand total of SEVEN red M&Ms. Gobs of brown, heaps of green, scads of yellow, and only seven red. Whither the red M&Ms, Mars? Is red dye much more expensive than all the others? What tomfoolery is this?
Finally, I marched to the store once more and, with righteous indignation, bought the biggest bag of M&Ms I could find. One dozen red candies later, my flags were finished and I was left with an enormous industrial-sized bag of M&Ms. What to do, what to do…
Well, you know how the old saying goes: “When life hands you a giant bag of M&Ms, make a giant M&M cookie.”
This wasn’t JUST an M&M cookie, though. I tossed in a little bit of everything good: toasted walnuts, toffee pieces, shredded sweetened coconut, and a bit of dark chocolate just for funsies. I almost called it a “Kitchen Sink Skillet Cookie” because it has everything BUT. Although if your kitchen sink is particularly delicious, feel free to throw that in there too.
Oh, and hot fudge sauce also made an appearance.
I love skillet cookies because they have the ease of cookies, but the knife-and-forkiness, ice cream-wantingness, eat-in-sliciness of cake. So I decided to treat my skillet cookie like the cake it so desperately wants to be, and top it with (storebought) ice cream and (homemade) hot fudge sauce. Best decision ever.
Also the best way to ruin an otherwise healthy lunch, but that’s another story for another day.
M&M Skillet Cookie with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
yield: one 10-inch cookie
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 1/2 ounces (11 tbsp) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of M&Ms
2 cups assorted mix-ins (I used a mix of chopped walnuts, toffee bits, and shredded coconut. You could use other nuts, candies, or chocolate chips as well)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or spray a 10-inch skillet or cake pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside for now.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and the egg yolk, and mix for an additional minute, until the egg is full incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.
With the mixer on slow speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until the flour is mostly incorporated—stop the mixer when you still have a few streaks left. Add the M&Ms and the rest of your mix-ins, and stir everything together by hand. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well with the spatula to incorporate any last pockets of butter or flour.
Scrape the dough out into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake the skillet cookie at 350 F for 25-30 minutes. You may want to cover it in the last 5 minutes to prevent it from getting to brown on top. Use a toothpick to make sure it’s cooked in the center, then let it rest at room temperature until it’s barely warm. Serve in slices with whipped cream, ice cream, or fudge sauce.
Hot Fudge Sauce
yield: about 2 cups
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup half and half (or use half milk, half cream)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture is smooth. If necessary, return it to the microwave to heat it in short 10-second bursts until the chocolate is melted.
Add the sugar, half and half, cocoa powder, and coffee granules to the bowl, and stir. It will look uneven and broken at first. Microwave the mixture for 2 minutes, then whisk well. It’s natural for it still to look a little broken at this point. Microwave for 2 more minutes, then whisk again until the sauce is smooth and shiny. It should be thick, somewhat like pudding, at this point. If it is too thick, add a little cream or half and half and whisk it in until you get a texture you like. Add the vanilla extract at the end.
If you’re not using immediately, press a layer of cling wrap on top and refrigerate the sauce. It might be a little grainy after refrigeration, but warm it up in 30-second intervals and it will smooth out. Enjoy warm over ice cream or cake.
Random questions: do you have any M&M eating rituals, like sorting them by color or eating one particular color first or last? Any M&M superstitions? I remember hearing all sorts of rumors about green M&Ms growing up, and in retrospect I have no idea what that is all about.