I’m obsessed with candy. Yes, I love my baked goods and fruits and vegetables and fresh wild fish and well-marbled meat. And watching TV, writing, reading, and shopping are some of my favorite things to do, but my love for candy is pretty much unmatched. You might think this is strange since I’m allergic to chocolate, because let’s face it, most candy in the grocery store is chocolate and that’s a bummer. But if you look hard enough the wonderful world of candy opens up and all kinds of chocolateless sugary treats can be found around every corner.
My quest for gummies, licorice, caramels, chewy, gooey, typically fat free, pure sugar goodness is never ending. I troll the aisles of grocery stores, drug stores, gourmet stores, and Target. The Internet is my best friend when it comes to buying out of the ordinary candies. There are even some candy stores not too far from my house that make my eyes light up as much as a trip to Neiman Marcus. When I see candy that I want, my impulse control vanishes in an instant; I buy everything I see, am able to eat, and think sounds interesting. What’s awesome about candy is that it’s not very expensive for the most part. A trip to Walgreen’s (which has surprisingly good candy), can leave Mom and me with arms overflowing with bag after bag of candy and yet we walk out for under twenty dollars. I look forward to holidays just so I can hit the stores for the new batches of candy. I’m already fully stocked for Halloween.
I have an uncanny ability to eat tons of candy. I plow through a serving of jelly beans, wishing I could have more (yes, I only eat one serving at a time), while Mom is done after about ten. Sugar crashes aren’t a part of my world. Candy is fuel for my body, helping me through a run and making me smile. Don’t believe me? This is my current stash of candy.
While my heart lies with gummy candy, it’s kind of hard to bake with, but my blog is young. Give me some time and gummy bear cookies can’t be far from posting. So Reese’s Pieces are one of my favorites when I’m in the kitchen. They’re easy to bake with and have wonderful flavor. I still love those Reese’s Pieces Muffins. These Vanilla Reese’s Pieces Cookies have been on my radar for awhile and lived up to my high expectations for sure.
The recipe may have said it made eighteen cookies. I got nine. I like big cookies. Don’t judge. You can make the cookies any size you’d like. I think they were the perfect size, with the wonderfully soft, perfectly underbaked, vanilla filled cookie surrounding melty Reese’s Pieces. You won’t see any brown Reese’s Pieces in them as I have an irrational fear they are chocolate so Mom eats those. I also ate them warm. That’s right. The warm cookie was sitting there staring at me and I ate it. It was perfection. After a couple minutes resting on the baking sheet, they were cool enough to touch and didn’t fall apart, so eating them warm is totally acceptable, if not encouraged. They also use shortening. I love baking with shortening, even though people seem to think it’s the worst thing ever. It’s not. It’s basically solid vegetable oil and makes super tasty cookies (and pie crust). I can’t decide if I like the cookie and Reese’s Pieces together the best or just plain cookie, but I can tell you that these insanely easy to make cookies are equally insanely amazing. And they are a totally acceptable way to eat an extra serving of candy.
- ½ cup vegetable shortening (I like Crisco)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, use seed scraping only
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Reese’s Pieces
- In a large bowl, cream shortening, sugars, eggs, milk, vanilla, and vanilla bean until light and fluffy. This is easily done with a spoon; no need for a mixer. Add the salt, baking soda, and flour. Mix until just combined. Add the Reese’s Pieces and mix to evenly distribute. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment, or bake the cookies in two batches, letting the remaining dough rest in the refrigerator while the first set bakes. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for about 13 minutes, until lightly browned and mostly set, though they will still be very soft to the tough and will harden as they cool. Cool completely (or don’t). Store in a zipper bag at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.