Add color and chocolate to cookies

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M&Ms make these oatmeal cookies extra special. Lisa Boykin Batts | Times
M&Ms make these oatmeal cookies extra special. Lisa Boykin Batts | Times

I’ve tried to stay away from too many sweets since Christmas.

And except for two birthday celebrations, I’ve tried to avoid baking brownies, cakes, cookies and pies for my family. But last week, I was craving something sweet when I ran across a recipe on the blog A Kitchen Addiction.

It was the colorful M&Ms in the peanut butter oatmeal cookies that made my mouth water.

I love M&Ms in cookies! It’s been a favorite cookie ingredient since I was a little girl. I just love the crunch of the candy shell and the distinct flavor of the chocolate.

I also love oatmeal cookies and liked that the recipe wasn’t loaded down with butter.

I basically made this recipe as written. The only real changes I made were to use plain peanut butter (instead of no-stir natural) and cut the sugar a little. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of both brown sugar and granulated sugar. When measuring, I used a little less than 1/2 cup each, just to cut back a little on the calories.

These cookies are very easy to make. I knew in advance I’d be baking them last Thursday, so I took out the butter that morning so it would be soft by the afternoon.

I used my small cookie scoop to make the cookies. My cookies didn’t flatten much. Next time I make this recipe, I might flatten them with a fork before baking.

I couldn’t wait to try these cookies and ate the first one or two while they were still very warm from the oven. There’s nothing like a warm M&M in a delicious peanut butter oatmeal cookie! The cookies are not overly sweet, which is a good thing for me. The peanut butter flavor is also not overpowering.

I was so happy with how the cookies turned out that I called over my next door neighbors to come sample them while they were still warm. They gave the cookies a thumbs-up as well, including the sweet toddler, Harper, who was happy to take a second cookie after finishing the first one.

The cookies stayed soft for several days after they were baked. They were good cold or briefly warmed in the microwave oven.

Peanut Butter M&M Oatmeal Cookies

1/3 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup no-stir natural peanut butter (I used plain Jiff peanut butter)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups quick oats

1 cup M&Ms (I used mini M&Ms; M&M baking bits will work too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat.

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture and beat until combined.

Stir in oats and M&Ms.

Drop by heaping tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet. If you want large cookies, drop by 1/4 cup full.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges just start to turn light golden brown. Do not overbake. (Mine took a little longer, but it might have been because of the oven rack position.)

Remove baking sheet to wire rack and cool for 3 minutes before removing cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store leftovers in an airtight container.