I don’t think this is a hot take: Cookies are better than candy. Who wouldn’t rather bite into a homemade, gooey, warm cookie than even the best mass-produced candy bar?
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
So at a time of year with a surplus of candy in my life, my mind gravitates to a wonderfully adaptable cookie recipe developed by my co-worker Mark Huxsoll.
For this recipe, you start with a base of flour, melted butter, brown and granulated sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. This recipe has a slightly higher amount of baking soda than the average cookie recipe and calls for baking the cookies in a 425-degree oven. The combination of extra leavener and a hot oven makes the cookies soufflé in the oven and collapse on themselves. It sounds chef-y (or maybe like a mistake), but the end result is a cookie with a delightful mix of a crispy exterior and a gooey, barely cooked inside. And this technique keeps the cookies chewy and fresh-tasting for a couple days after baking.
Loaded Triple Chocolate Chunk CookiesA great cookie base loaded with three kinds of chocolate.
With this basic formula, the world is your proverbial oyster (though I doubt oysters would be good in a cookie). Once you mix the dough, you can add 1½ cups of just about any mix-ins—including all that halloween candy—into the cookie dough before baking.
I’d stick to chocolate- or nut-based candies, but otherwise, have fun with it.
Mark made versions with chopped mixed chocolate; marshmallows, milk chocolate, and graham crackers; and, my personal favorite, Reeses pieces and cooked bacon. Yes, Mark put bacon in a cookie—and the result was delightfully salty and sweet. You can chop up Snickers and peanuts or Twix and caramel chips or just a mix of whatever chocolate candy you have.
Loaded Peanut Butter-Bacon CookiesA great cookie base loaded with bacon and Reese's Pieces.
I promise you, your kids won’t be sad to trade their halloween candy for these cookies.