Chocolate Easter Cookies

I love holidays.  Give me an excuse to celebrate, and I’ll become giddy with excitement.  So it goes without saying that, even though I didn’t grow up with a religious background, I was a fan of Easter.  Sure, it wasn’t on par with Christmas or Halloween, but I always received some sort of small Easter present from my parents (though never an Easter basket, and no, I’m not bitter about that, why do you ask?).  In second grade, when I was on a pencil-collecting streak and had amassed upwards of 300 pencils, my mom gave me a nifty lavender pencil with a bunny sitting on a swing where the eraser would have been.  The swing actually swung.  To a seven year-old, it was the best thing EVER.

These days, as a twenty-seven year-old “adult,” receiving Easter presents has fallen by the wayside along with stuffed animals (sadness!) and scrunchies that always impeccably matched my outfits (thank God).  Instead, I like to celebrate by whipping up something delicious to upstage the Peeps and Cadbury eggs that are threatening to take over every store in the nation.  Two years ago, at the very onset of my interest in baking, I made chocolate cupcakes from a boxed mix and decorated them with peanut M&Ms and, yes, bunny and tulip Peeps (a friend thought the latter were “Easter creatures”).  It was, in hindsight, a rather garish display and probably sickeningly sweet to eat.  Last year, I contributed jam-filled ebelskivers to a potluck, which were much more delightful and will be making an appearance on this blog at some point.

This year, I honestly have been so busy that I didn’t think I’d get around to making anything.  But as soon as I saw Two Peas and Their Pod’s chocolate pudding cookies featured on The Pioneer Woman’s website, I knew I had to make them.  I even left work early to do so (and paid the price later, when I spent two hours on the phone with my firm’s IT department trying to figure out why my laptop refused to log in remotely).  That’s how serious I was about these cookies.

And thankfully I made them, because these cookies are wonderful.  The addition of pudding mix keeps them soft and moist while lending a surprisingly rich chocolate flavor, and the chopped up Robin Eggs (i.e., Whoppers dressed up for Easter) add a nice airy crunch that’s different from usual cookie add-ins.  To this twenty-seven year-old, these cookies are the best thing EVER.


Chocolate Easter Cookies

Barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Yield:  About 3 dozen (I got 39)

While the original recipe calls for milk chocolate chips, feel free to change things up with semi-sweet or white.  I used mini milk chocolate chips because that’s what I had on hand, but I think white chocolate would look nice with the pastel-colored Robin Eggs.

Speaking of Robin Eggs, a few things to note.  First, make sure to buy the mini eggs, NOT the standard-sized ones, which will force you to endure a lot more chopping or end up with funky-looking cookies.  Second, the original recipe called for 1 1/4 cup of mini eggs; I reduced it to 1 cup and found that I still had plenty of candy in my cookies.  Finally, be careful chopping the eggs, which tend to roll around a lot – we don’t want anyone losing any fingers.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 (3.4 oz.) package chocolate instant pudding mix

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if you used salted butter)

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup Mini Robin Eggs, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt (if using).  Set aside.

In another bowl, use a mixer to beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add chocolate pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth.

Add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture and mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and Robin Eggs.

Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart (these cookies spread).  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The centers of the cookies will not be completely done, but that’s okay.  Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

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