Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

When I was a little girl, my Grandma Nan and Opa (grandpa) lived in a small home in southern Pennsylvania, with a swimming pool and vegetable garden out back and an old weeping willow out front. My cousins and I would spend days there in the summertime, playing “mermaids” in the pool and helping my Opa pick raspberries and dig up potatoes. During these warm months, my grandma would always make homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie—buttery crust dusted with sugar, filled with sweet-and-tangy fruit filling. At the moment, I have no idea where her recipe has disappeared to, but the other day, as I was huddled in my apartment, dealing with a late winter sleet storm here in Memphis, I thought about that pie, and warm weather, and sunshine and I’ve been craving that pie ever since. I found this recipe on Food Network’s website and the title “Grandma’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie” pulled me in. This recipe combines sour rhubarb, sweet ripe strawberries, tangy lemon juice, spicy cinnamon, and lots of sugar to create a rich fruit filling.

 

Makes: 1, 10 inch pie

Prep. time: 20-30 minutes

Baking time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy

 

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for dusting and rolling the dough (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cake flour*
  • 3 tsp. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (butter-flavored) shortening, like Crisco
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water

*You can make cake flour with regular flour if you don’t have cake flour on hand. For every 1 cup of all-purpose flour, removed 2 tbsp. flour and replace with 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Sift well to blend.

For the filling

  • 2&1/2 cups fresh red rhubarb, chopped
  • 2&1/2 cups ripe strawberries, de-stemmed, washed, and cut into halves or quarters
  • 1&1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. minute tapioca
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 tsp. water, for egg wash
  • Large granule sugar, for dusting the crust
The fruit filling mixture; the filling in the pie crust, topped with butter; the pie in the oven; the pie right out of the oven

The fruit filling mixture; the filling in the pie crust, topped with butter; the pie in the oven; the pie right out of the oven

Directions

For the crust

Cut the butter and shortening into the flours, sugar, and salt with a pastry blender. Whisk the egg, vinegar, and cold water in a bowl or measuring cup and pour over the dry ingredients, then gently blend by hand to combine—do not overwork the dough or it will become tough. Shape the dough into two equal-sized balls, wrap separately in saran wrap or wax paper, and chill in the fridge for a few minutes. Remove one dough ball from the fridge, roll it out to fit the pie pan, then place it into the pie dish and return to the fridge to chill.

For the filling

Preheat the oven to 425* F. Add the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, tapioca, flour, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, and vanilla to a large bowl. Mix well and and pour out into chilled pie crust in the pie pan, then dot the top of the filling evenly with the butter cubes. Brush the edges of pie crust with egg wash. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling, then crimp to seal the edges. Brush the whole top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with large granule sugar. Wrap the edges of the pie crust with foil to prevent burning and bake at 425* F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375* F and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling and the pie crust is golden brown. Remove from oven when done and cool before serving. Great with vanilla ice cream!

My boyfriend and I were too eager to wait for the pie to cool properly, so we made a bit of a mess. :)

My boyfriend and I were too eager to wait for the pie to cool properly, so we made a bit of a mess. 🙂

Cook’s Commentary

This variation of strawberry-rhubarb pie has a unique blend of flavors that makes it a big winner in my books. Strawberries add their sweetness, while rhubarb adds a tangy-sour flavor, but then you get this pop of brightness from the lemon juice and zest and warmth from the cinnamon and vanilla. Flaky buttery crust is perfect with this sweet, gooey filling. Be sure to be patient and let it cool completely before cutting into it, otherwise you’ll get the fruity mess that you see in the picture above (totally tasty and worth it though!). It’s not my Grandma Nan’s recipe, but it’s pretty damn good and I’ll definitely be making it again once summer arrives.

Advertisements

Recipe: Key Lime Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup and 3 tbsp. honey graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks*
  • 1&1/2 tsp. key lime (or reg. lime) zest
  • 1, 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup key lime juice** (approx. 1 bag, or approx. 20-25 key limes)
  • Whipped cream or lime wedges for garnish, if desired

*If you’re worried about wasting egg whites, save them and try making meringues, souffle, omelets, or angel food cake.

**If you run a little short on key lime juice, use a little regular lime juice.

 

Directions

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350*F. Stir together crushed graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl until well-mixed (should look a bit like wet sand). Press evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch, oven-safe baking dish. Bake for approx. 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and slightly dry, then let cool completely.

For the filling: Keep the oven at 350*F. Put the zest and egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a whisk) and mix on high speed until the mixture is thick, creamy, and pale yellow (approx. 4-6 minutes). Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour the condensed milk into the mixture in a steady stream. Raise the speed to high again and mix until thick (approx. 3-4 minutes). Reduce the speed to medium and slowly mix in the lime juice until just combined. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and spread it evenly all over. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, until it is set (wiggles ever so slightly) and is just faintly golden around the edges. Let cool completely and then cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours. Serve with whipped cream, lime wedges, or a drizzle of chocolate or caramel. Eat within 3 days.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Key Lime Bars

Cook’s Comments

I bought key limes on a whim the other week and, after noticing them languishing in my fridge a week later, I went on a frantic search for recipe ideas. Dessert bars are fast, easy, and delicious and the key limes worked perfectly in this application. These were a hit at work and at home—tangy, sweet, and creamy. Best in the summer time, but not bad on an unusually warm October day.

 

Recipe: Quick and Easy Microwaveable Brownie for One

Sometimes you want a brownie, and you want it NOW. You want it chocolaty, hot, and hopefully topped with a scoop of ice cream or paired with an ice cold glass of milk. This desire for a brownie hit me not once, but twice, a few weeks ago (it had been a loooooong week), and I went on a mad online search for a decent recipe for microwave brownies (because waiting for a batch to bake in the oven was so not happening). I found one on Food.com that looked pretty good—I know that a brownie made in a cup and thrown in the microwave can’t possibly compare to a batch properly cooked in the oven, but it’s really nice to have the option to make a quick brownie when you want one. This recipe results in a fluffy yet gooey brownie rather than a dense and chewy brownie or cake brownie, and it just makes a single serving. You can make it in a mug, but I made mine in a small, microwaveable mixing bowl. I added a few drops each of peppermint and spearmint extract to make a minty brownie and topped mine with mint chocolate chip ice cream, but I’ve just listed the main, plain recipe here.

When I said I wanted it NOW, I meant it. There was no time to take a proper picture. NO TIME!

Serves: 1
Prep. time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1-1&1/2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 dash (approx. 1/8 to 1/4 tsp.) salt
  • 4 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I just used Hershey’s, but the better quality you use, the better the flavor)
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Directions
Melt the butter in a mug or small, deep bowl, in the microwave. Add the water and vanilla to the mug/bowl and whisk to blend. Add the sugar and salt and whisk to blend. Add the cocoa powder and flour and whisk to blend. The final mixture should be well blended, with no lumps (there may be some graininess because of the sugar). “Bake” in the microwave for 1-1&1/2 minutes, but no longer (too long and it’ll get burnt and dried out; a minute and 15 seconds is just about right). The brownie should be soft and slightly gooey in the middle (unless you cooked it a bit longer); it will also be very hot, so be careful. Let it sit for a minute or two before eating. Best served with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or a glass of milk.
Simple and tasty—that about sums it up. It’s not a dense brownie square like you’d get from a proper batch of oven-baked brownies, but it’s chocolaty, gooey, ready in a minute, and you can eat it with a spoon, so it’s pretty damn delicious nonetheless.

Recipe: Lemon Cheesecake with a Raspberry Swirl

So, making a cheesecake was my way of dealing with the fact that I had a box of Girl Scout Trefoil cookies, which were pretty tasteless (at least in comparison to Walkers brand shortbread, which is far superior), that I refused to waste. The easiest way to use them, in my mind, was to make a crust with them, and I felt that cheesecake was the ideal filling for said crust (plus, I’ve never made cheesecake before, and I wanted to try something new). While out to dinner with a friend, I mentioned my plan for this cheesecake and we started brainstorming ideas for flavors for the dessert (because New York Style with gooey strawberry puree on top was not gonna cut it). We both mentioned lemon and raspberry in almost the same breath, and I was immediately hooked on the idea, so I found this great recipe from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen to work off of. Even though Pennsylvania still can’t seem to decide if it wants winter or spring (and thus, we go from 70 degrees one day to 40 degrees the next), I felt the flavors of lemon and raspberry were bright and perfect for this transitional stage between the end of winter and beginning of spring. Lemon and cream cheese, each with their own tangy flavor, go perfectly together, while sweetened raspberries add another dimension to the flavor and help sweeten the cheesecake. Aside from the exceptional flavor, this cheesecake is thick, creamy, and decadent—so rich that even I, champion of eating ALL the dessert, only cut myself the slimmest slice so as to avoid overdoing it.

Yields: About 16 servings (depending on how large your slices are)
Prep. time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 min. for the crust, approx. 1-and-a-half hours for the cheesecake
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Special equipment: Springform pan, food processor, stand mixer, strainer

Ingredients
For the crust

  • 1&1/2 sleeves Girl Scout Trefoil cookies (or approx. 1 box of your favorite shortbread cookies/approx. 20 cookies)
  • 2 tbsp. granulated white sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the raspberry puree swirl
  • 10-12 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
For the cheesecake filling
  • 4, 8 oz. blocks/packages of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat), room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • Zest of 3 lemons (approx. 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used a low fat style), room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature (you can bring them up to room temperature faster by placing them, still in the shells, in a cup or bowl with warm-to-hot water)
  • Juice of 3 lemons (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Additional 1-2 tbsp. sugar (to help cut some of the acidity of the lemons)
Directions
For the crust
Preheat the oven to 350*F. In a food processor, pulse the cookies until they are broken down into a fine crumb, then add the sugar and melted butter and pulse to blend until the cookie mixture is wet and looks a bit like damp sand. Spray or butter your springform pan, then pour the cookie mixture into the pan and press evenly on the bottom and up onto the sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
For the raspberry puree swirl
Add the raspberries, sugar, and water to a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat for approx. 10 minutes, until the raspberries are completely broken down and the mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat and pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl or measuring cup (the strainer removes all of the unwanted lumps and seeds and gives you a nice, clear puree). If the puree is a little watery, boil for about a minute to slightly thicken in. Set aside to cool (I placed mine in the fridge to cool faster).
For the cheesecake filling
Lower the temperature of the oven to 325*F. Wrap the bottom and outside sides of the springform pan in aluminum foil, so no water will leak inside while cooking (the cheesecake will be cooked in a water bath). In the bowl of your stand mixer, on medium speed, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest until the mixture is smooth and airy (approx. 3-5 minutes). Add the sour cream and mix it in, then add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Add the lemon juice, salt, and extra sugar to the mixture and blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is well mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan with crust and smooth the top of the batter with a spatula so it is even and smooth. Carefully drizzle part of the raspberry puree in a large circle around the edge of the batter, then another slightly smaller circle in the middle, and a smaller circle inside of that (3-4 rings of raspberry puree should be fine; you should have puree leftover). Take a skewer, chopstick, or other long and thin kitchen utensil/tool and make a zigzag motion across the batter from top to bottom, then side to side, creating a swirl pattern. Place the springform pan in a larger pan (make sure it’s not too tight of a fit). Boil a pot of water and pour the boiling water carefully into the larger pan (do not splash any water into or onto the cheesecake) so that the water comes up about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for about an hour and 30 minutes, until the cheesecake no longer jiggles much in the middle (a little jiggling is fine, as the cheesecake will continue to cook a little even after being removed from the oven, and it will firm up after removal from the oven). Remove the cheesecake and let it cool in the pan for at least 2 hours, then remove the pan (leaving the bottom) and allow the cheesecake to cool for at least 5-6 hours in the fridge. Save the remaining raspberry puree in an airtight container in the fridge.
Serve the cheesecake with an extra drizzle of raspberry puree, if desired, and if you’re feeling a little adventurous (as I was), add a dollop of homemade whipped cream (1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp, sugar, and 2 tbsp. of the raspberry puree whips up to create a lovely raspberry whipped cream). Keep the cheesecake and puree in the fridge to keep them fresh. 
The cheesecake, fresh out of the oven. My puree was a little thin, which caused it to pool a bit when I drizzled it on and swirled it, but I still think it looks pretty good!
This cheesecake is phenomenal, with flavors that are perfect for the spring and summer months. Bright, tangy lemon tempered by the sweetness of the raspberries and creaminess of the cheesecake batter itself makes for a delicious cheesecake. It’s both light and incredibly rich, with a smooth, thick creaminess that’s oh-so-decadent. I think other flavorings could easily be subbed in for the lemon and raspberry, so this is definitely a recipe you can play around with, but this raspberry and lemon combo is pretty hard to beat.

Recipe: Melted Ice Cream Cake (Funfetti Cake + Birthday Cake Ice Cream)

This whole thing started a few weeks ago the morning after a girls night with my best friend from home. We’d gotten Ben & Jerry’s, eaten a few heaping spoonfuls, and the still mostly full pints were languishing in the freezer. I wasn’t really too excited about having them stick around, but I certainly wasn’t going to toss them, so I started thinking up ways to use them. “There’s gotta be a way to use melted ice cream in some sort of baked good”—that was my first thought. And then “cake!” One of the pints was red velvet cake, so I got this grand plan to use red velvet cake mix with the red velvet ice cream and make super red velvety red velvet cake. I found this recipe from the blog Cookies & Cups to work off of (because I wasn’t quite sure how to pull this off) and was all set to make it, but I ended up pushing it off while I spent a week in Memphis with my boyfriend. I told him about my plan and he suggested funfetti cake with birthday cake ice cream (because he loves cake-flavored frozen treats), so I promised to make him that instead of my red velvety red velvet and send it to him for Easter. The cake turned out pretty well—fairly moist, tender, and very very cake-flavored. It was actually quite sweet, but definitely tasty. In the future, I would plan to use a more subtle cake base (vanilla or chocolate) and try a fun flavor of ice cream (I’m dreaming of a strawberry-chocolate cake, mint-chocolate cake, or peanut-butter chocolate cake—yum!). This was pretty easy to make and pretty fun too. Since I’m mailing the cake, I decided to top it with a glaze rather than icing, since glazes hold up a little better. A generous spray of sprinkles completed the cake and made it perfectly fun and colorful for Easter.

Yields: 1-2 cakes, depending on what type of pan you use (I used two, 9 in. pans); approx. 12 servings (according to the cake mix package)
Prep. time: 5-10 minutes
Baking time: Varies (depending on the type of pan you use)
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
For the cake

  • 1 box of cake mix (approx. 15-18 oz.)
  • 1 pint (approx. 2 cups) of ice cream, melted (use this in place of the water and oil required for the boxed mix)
  • 3 eggs
  • Cooking spray to grease the pan

For the glaze
  • 1/4 cup milk (2%)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Sprinkles (if desired)
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Lightly grease the pan(s) you plan to use for the cake. In the bowl of a mixer, add the cake mix, melted ice cream (ice cream should not still be solid and/or frozen…it should be totally or mostly melted), and the eggs and beat on medium speed until well-blended. Do not add the oil or water required for the mix—the melted ice cream acts as a substitute for these. The mixture should look creamy, fairly thick, and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake according to package instructions (different pans take different amounts of time). Be sure to check the cake a few minutes before it’s done (my cakes were in 9 in. pans and were supposed to take at least 29 minutes to bake, but they ended up taking almost 7 minutes less than that). Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then finish cooling on racks. 
Heat a small pot over low heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar and whisk until well-blended and smooth. Cook until smooth and warm. Remove from heat and pour or drizzle over cake. If you want to add sprinkles, add them while the glaze is still wet. You can also use a prepared icing or make your own and use this in place of a glaze.
My boyfriend and his friends, having seen pictures, are calling this “metacake” and “cake-ception.” Love it.
Melted ice cream cake is a fun twist on traditional cake and, because you’re just using boxed cake mix, it’s super easy to make. You can mix and match endless flavors to create exactly what you’re craving. I highly recommend sticking with a basic cake (chocolate, yellow, white, or vanilla) and picking a fun ice cream flavor, thought this birthday cake ice cream-funfetti cake combo was definitely fun. 

Recipe: Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing Drizzle

I spent last week in Memphis with my boyfriend, making the most of his week-long spring break. We spent a few quiet days in Arkansas, at an old hunting lodge/clubhouse his family is a member of, and spent the rest of the week at his family home. I ate some great food (including a homemade beef and cheddar hot dog in a soft pretzel bun from Hog & Hominy, a burger at Huey’s, and of course, cupcakes from Muddy’s), met some of his law school friends, had some “arts and crafts” time (we painted pottery and made glass dishes–both were a lot of fun to work on!), and visited a few galleries and museums. As a thank you to him and his family for hosting me, I thought it would be nice to bake brownies and send them down their way. I found this recipe for red velvet brownies and knew I had to try it out—I don’t generally play around with baking recipes because they are so precise and I find it hard to change and edit ingredients (it’s so much easier to mess up in baking than it is in cooking), so I left it as is, but added a little drizzle of cream cheese icing to give them a little more flavor (makes ’em prettier too). The resulting brownies were perfectly chewy and dense with a light, flaky top, just like a brownies should be, and the drizzle of icing added a little tangy flavor and creaminess to them.

Yields: 1, 9×13 inch pan of brownies (approx. 20 brownie squares)
Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1&1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1&1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 oz. red food coloring (if you don’t have enough food coloring, add water to get the required measurement)
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2&1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s, because that’s all I could find, but a better quality brand will yield better brownies)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

For the cream cheese icing drizzle
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • Approx. 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more, as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. milk
Directions
Preheat the over to 350*F. Spray a 9×13 inch clear, glass baking dish with cooking/baking spray. Using the paddle attachment in your mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until creamy, light, and fluffy (approx. 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs slowly, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add the food coloring and vanilla and blend on medium speed until the color is fully incorporated. In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and whisk to mix. Slowly add this mixture to the mixing bowl on medium speed until it’s fully incorporated—be careful not too over mix though.  The batter should be quite thick and all of the flour should be mixed in. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and spread evenly in the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until done (insert a toothpick in the center—if it comes out wet with batter, the brownies need more baking time, but if it comes out clean or a little crumby, the brownies are done). Brownies should be a little flaky on the outside, but slightly moist on the inside. Set aside to cool.
While the brownies are cooling, add the the ingredients for the cream cheese icing drizzle to a small bowl and whisk to blend (you can use the mixer, once clean, to make this go a little faster and to mix it better, but I was too lazy to clean the mixer and ended up whisking together the icing by hand). The finished icing should be thick, but still be able to be drizzled easily. Cut the brownies into squares and, using a spoon, drizzle the icing as neatly as possible over each square (I actually used a squeeze bottle to get more precise drizzles; you can use an icing/pastry bag with a round tip for neater results). Let the icing set (it will not get hard, but rather, it’ll thicken and be a little sticky) for a few minutes.
Serve with a glass of cold milk or a mug of hot coffee, or whatever beverage you prefer. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla (or perhaps red velvet, for added red velvet-ness?) ice cream or with some fresh berries. Store brownies in an airtight container and avoid stacking them, if possible, because the cream cheese drizzle will get smeary and smudged.
These brownies are essentially your basic, everyday brownies, but the pop of red food coloring and the sweet and tangy cream cheese icing drizzle add a little pizzazz to them. Great for dessert, for a party, or an afternoon snack, these brownies are chocolaty, chewy, and absolutely delicious.

Recipe: M&M Cookies

So, my boyfriend, John, just started his first week of year two of law school and I wanted to send him some cookies to say “congrats” and help him get through the next week or two. He’s a big fan of M&Ms (he keeps a bag stashed in a drawer by his desk expressly for snacking), so I figured M&M cookies would be a hit. The recipe is essentially your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, with M&Ms in place of chocolate chips, so it’s a no-brainer. From what I gathered online, this is the “original” recipe that appeared on old bags of M&M’s, so it was created with them in mind.

Yields: About 3-5 dozen (depending on how big you make the cookies)
Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Baking time: 9-12 minutes per batch
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 2&1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 12-16 oz. (1&1/2 to 2 cups) M&Ms

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or, if you don’t have parchment paper, simply set aside, ungreased. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda, then set aside. In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, add the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed with the paddle attachment until well-blended, fluffy, and creamy. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until well-blended. Stir in the M&Ms (I recommend stirring by hand so that the M&Ms don’t get broken apart by the mixer’s paddle). Drop by rounded teaspoons (I usually just form small ball-like blobs by hand) onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake each batch for 9-12 minutes, until very slightly golden brown around the edges and slightly soft in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool, then place on wire racks to cool completely before storing them (or eating a bunch!). Helpful hint: Keep a slice of bread in the pot of cookies to keep them from getting too crispy. 
These cookies are simple and classic. You can pick and choose M&M colors so that the cookies correspond to holidays (i.e. red and green for Christmas, pink and red for Valentine’s Day, etc.) and they’re perfect for an afternoon snack, bake sale, or family picnic.