Saturday, December 29, 2012

Basics: Pudding Cookies

The holidays are in full swing and so far this year, I've made close to 2000 cookies - for gifts, parties, and just because it's that time of the year. Cookie time.. it brings on an intense urge to bake none other than cookies, for some strange reason (possibly to please that jolly old man in red when he comes to deliver your goodies under the tree). You may think this is normal for me, since I'm always baking. But quite honestly, I personally don't bake too many cookies throughout the year. I am definitely more of a cake baker. So, I use the holidays to make up for the rest of the year and bake dozens and dozens of different types of cookies.

Using prepared ingredients in baking can be very useful at times, as in the case of pudding cookies. It's basically a cookie made with a packet of Jell-o Instant Pudding powder. These puddings prepared as directed on their packages always seem a bit plain-jane for my tastes. But throw them into cookie dough or cake batter and voila! They give your treats an added oomph, which is why you'll always find these little boxes of pudding mix in my pantry. My favorite flavors to add into my desserts thus far are Pistachio, Cheesecake, White Chocolate and of course, Vanilla and Chocolate.

The other day while perusing my favorite aisle of the grocery store, I found a seasonal variety of Jell-o Instant Pudding - Candy Cane! I picked up a box along with another seasonal flavor, Gingerbread - more on that in another post.

The cookies photographed here, my Wintry Minty Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies, were inspired by Kraft's recipe for pudding cookies. These cookies use the below recipe with Candy Cane Jell-o Instant Pudding Mix along with Andes Mint Chips (1 cup) and semi-sweet chocolate chips (1/2 cup) as the add-ins. These are subtly minty and encompass the perfect textural qualities you want in a chocolate chip cookie - chewy on the inside with a thin crispy exterior. And because of the addition of the packet of pudding mix, these cookies stay chewy and moist for days!

You can make these cookies with any pudding flavor you like! I would suggest the Vanilla or White Chocolate flavor if you are going to be adding the mint chips to the dough. If you just want a traditional chocolate chip cookie, use the Vanilla Instant Pudding with regular semi-sweet chocolate chips. The variety of cookies you can bake are endless. Be creative - throw together different pudding flavors and add-ins and come up with your very own signature pudding cookie!

Basic Pudding Cookies
(inspired by

1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 packed light brown sugar
1 package Jell-o Instant Pudding Mix
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 c add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, chopped dried fruit, chopped candy bars, sprinkles, etc)

Preheat your oven to 350*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes. Add the pudding mix until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla until they are well mixed into the batter.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated, taking care not to over-mix. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add your add-ins and fold them into the cookie dough. Using a 2T cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet roughly 2" apart. These cookies will spread in the oven, however, I like to press the dough down and flatten them a bit with my hands before I bake them.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, taking them out when the edges have browned. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack until they are cooled completely. These cookies will keep in an airtight container for 5 days. Enjoy!

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