Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sweet Potato (Leftover Halloween) Reese's Pieces Oatmeal Cookies

One of the nice things about seasonal eating is looking forward to the new produce that ripens with each season.  It must have been boring just buying whatever I had on the menu plan at the grocery store (who am I kidding? I think I've always shopped for what's on sale/marked down/cheap).  Lately, I have been busily roasting a bunch of the fall produce that's been popping up in my CSA farm share box.  I know that the greens need to be used up quicker than the winter squash and root veggies, but I've missed the root veggies, so I had to include them in my processing labors.

I am frugal by nature, and always looking for ways to save money.  I don't mind asking my kids for some of their Halloween candy, and they don't mind tolerate giving me some when I use it to make treats for all of us!  Today I was going to make a batch of cookies for the family using that candy, and my eye fell on a cup of baked sweet potato flesh that was left over from another recipe.  I'm happy adding veggies to my oatmeal muffins so why not cookies?  I love to make cookies because I bought into that 'let the dough sit' NYT article.  Since it only takes a few minutes to mix up a batch of dough, I'm happy to do it whenever I've got softened butter (yay, hockey season!). Then the dough can hang out in the fridge for a day until I'm ready to bake.  Win for everyone.
Don't try this at home!  See note below!

One technique I have for keeping our family from eating 3 dozen cookies in a day is to freeze scoops of cookie dough on a metal tray until hard, then transfer to a zip top bag.  That way I can bake as much as I want think we should eat for dessert.  And the side benefit is that I frequently have cookie dough in the freezer for unexpected cookie needs.  Long ago I'd promised dinner, ready to heat, to my son's Thursday after school music tutor when he and his wife became parents.  Except I'd gotten the date wrong!  Lucky for me, I had cookies in the freezer, so while the music lesson was happening in the dining room, I was in the kitchen baking cookies and throwing together a meal for the new parents.  A well-stocked pantry is a huge help to my wallet.

Sweet Potato and Reese's Pieces Oatmeal Cookies

adapted from the recipe under the lid of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats

1 stick + 6 Tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweet potato puree (from 1 large sweet potato baked at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until soft)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup Reese's pieces

I don't preheat the oven, because I don't make the cookies the day I make the dough.  If you're doing it all in one day, then preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add butter and sugars to a mixing bowl, beat together.  Add eggs, beat well.  Add vanilla and sweet potato, beat well.  Dump the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into the bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Add the oats, a cup at a time, until they are combined.  Stir in the Reese's pieces or any desired peanut butter & chocolate candy bits.
Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for at least a day.  Once chilled, the dough is easy to scoop into cookie-sized balls.

On baking day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Scoop by generous tablespoonful onto a parchment-lined or ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on sheet for another minute, then transfer to cooling rack to finish cooling.  These cookies are best eaten the day they are baked.

NOTE:  Reese's pieces do NOT like being frozen and then baked.  The colored shell kind of bleeds onto the dough.  It tastes fine, but does not look very appealing.  I don't recommend freezing this particular cookie recipe.
These are for the freezer-they're too close for baking but just fine all squished for freezing.


  1. These look great! I love your ingenuity, and I agree that a well-stocked pantry is so important.

    1. Thanks! The Halloween haul this year includes a lot of Whoppers, so I'm going to find a way to chop them up and turn them into a cookie too.

  2. I should try the frozen cookie idea - the kids would love it.

    Your post made me go look for my kids' Halloween candy to see if the had any Reese's peanut butter cups. My daughter didn't have any (darn!) and I couldn't find my son's candy. He must have taken it to school; how could he not trust his mother?!

    1. My kids have (misplaced) trust in me--they left their loot on the dining room table!

      Since I took so much from them legally (they are both in braces this year) I guess I took the fun out of it. Ah well, they can look forward to snickers cakes or milky way sundae topping.

  3. Yep those are some pretty unusual cookies and still I'd try them. I like sweet potatoes, I like oatmeal cookies, and I love reese pieces, so why not.
    A well stocked freezer or pantry is the secret to kitchen success because sometimes you need a night off or an easy option.

    1. And yesterday I made 2 batches of cookies for the bake sale at my spouse's work. One used the leftover Whoppers from Halloween--tried to cut those up and they shattered, so I just chucked the rest of them into the dough and cranked up the mixer. The other was cut up Twix bars and the single bite I had of my daughter's cookie was amazing. Of course the sweet potatoes on hand had already become fries or had been roasted for tonight's pizza, so the cookies were veg-free.
      You're so right about nights off and the pantry helping the easy option. But it doesn't stop me from taking photos and thinking up an angle for a blog post even though I'm doing something quick and easy. Oy. Thanks for stopping by!