Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am a sucker for impulse buys. If you put something shiny in a checkout line, I am immediately drawn to it. Also, when trying out a new product or receiving a free makeover at the mall, I will invariably purchase whatever someone is selling. This got so bad in fact that during college I bought 2 bartending kits through shady companies. The first one I purchased willingly with the promise that it would make me an expert bartender and I would earn loads of cash working in DC bars. Never mind that I was 18, and no restaurant in their right mind would ever hire an 18 year old to sling drinks. I actually still have some pieces from that original bartending kit –so for me that was 20 bucks well spent.
It was really the second bartending kit I inadvertently bought, that makes my college friends tease me to this day. When I say inadvertently, I mean that I was unaware I was purchasing said kit while it was happening. Once again applying to bartending jobs through our college newspaper, I was on the phone with a representative from a company called something like Bartenders Today. Mid-conversation he asked me what the expiration date on my credit card was, “Well, I don’t know. Let me check.” Don’t worry, I figured out what he was up to once he asked me what the credit card number was, but I felt by that time it was too late. Thus I had purchased my second completely worthless bartending kit.
By now, I am sure you are shaking your head in disbelief and wondering if you can sell me Brooklyn Bridge – perhaps, but only after you make it shiny and tell me it’s a bargain (and that it could potentially lead to a bartending job). I think this affliction is due to imposed restraint at impulse buys as a child. While my mom was checking out at the grocery store, my sisters and I would stand by the candy and toy vending machines on the way out deciding what we wanted. When my mom came by with the cart we began to make our case about why it was necessary to pay 50 cents for sticky green slime. She never fell for it.

What I didn’t realize, was that she was making her own impulse buys at the checkout line! Yes, that’s right mom, I am telling your secret to the world! You love grocery store checkout cookbooks. Don’t be ashamed, we all think about it from time to time, and I admire your spontaneity for snatching off the rack and tossing it onto the pile of groceries on the conveyor belt. We have so many of those paperback brand name product cookbooks at home they are like a shrine to all things Kraft.
When I moved out, my mom pawned some of these off on me. Probably just to clear space for the newest editions, but regardless of her motives, I now have a handful of these on my own shelf. I have flipped through these from time to time, and occasionally stumble upon a good recipe. When deciding what I should make for this week’s post, I was looking though the M&M’s baking cookbook and found a recipe that caught my eye. I happened to have a giant bag of M&M’s left over from a conference, as well as one almost rotten banana, so why not.

Banana Pecan Oatmeal Cookies with M&M’s
as adapted from M&M Baking Cookbook 1996
I was a bit dubious of the outcome for these cookies, while reading the recipe. But, with a few minor tweaks, the cookies came out wonderfully. Plus, with the addition of oats, banana and whole wheat flour, these cookies are almost good for you.

½ c butter, softened
½ c margarine or vegetable shortening
1 ¼ c light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 medium mashed banana (about ½ c)
2 ¼ c white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. old fashioned oats (I used Thick Cut oats)
1 c chopped pecans
1 ¼ c M&M’s

Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl cream together butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and banana and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices. Gradually mix in dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in oats and pecans until combined, then fold in M&M’s.

Place onto ungreased (or parchment paper lined) baking sheets by large dinner spoon, keeping about 1” apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden, but the rest of the cookie is still fairly soft. Remove to wire racks and cool. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag. Makes about 2 dozen.

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