This month of Operation Baking Gals fell right around the heartfelt day of Valentines and Team KelseyKakes took full advantage of sending all our love to the troops overseas. I had such a wonderful group this month stretching all the way from Alaska to New York City...that's a lot of baking mileage! These chefs went above and beyond for our sponsored troop of the month, Bryan Tull.
SGT Tull is a broadcast journalist in the Army Reserves. His unit's primary mission is to work directly with members of the international media who visit Iraq to get the real story for audiences around the world. His unit also has a daily blog - Blogs Over Baghdad - that I encourage everyone to read, it will truly touch your heart. His job of maintaining the integrity of journalism is such an important one, as we all know that the information we have access to is a priceless tool for understanding what is really happening in our world. He is protecting our freedom of press and freedom of speech...and for that, we bake!
I was so inspired by SGT Tull and caught up in the moment of Valentines, that I decided what better a treat than to bake up the largest, most yummy batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies...with a lovely twist of red and white M&M's to replace the chocolate chips of course! These cookies are perfect for shipping to a troop or a crush because they contain a secret ingredient of instant vanilla pudding. Why pudding mix you ask? Well, adding instant pudding mix to your cookie dough prevents the delicious bites from getting stale and hard during shipping. These cookies will stay soft for weeks on end and remain perfect with every nibble to come.
Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 package (3.4 oz.) instant pudding (I like vanilla)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used valentines M&M's for this recipe)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda - set aside
3. Using a stand mixer (or similar) cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar for about 2-3 minutes
4. Beat instant pudding mix
5. Gradually stir in eggs and vanilla
6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and blend until just combined
7. Using a spatula, hand stir in chocolate chips and nuts
8. Drop cookies by rounded spoonful on baking sheet lined with parchment (or an ungreased cookie sheet)
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes...they will look undone, but set up once removed from the oven
*TIP: You can really make these cookies you own by changing the pudding mix flavor or your add-in ingredients. Have fun with it!