Cocoa Candy Chocolate Chipper Cookies

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies amidst paint cansOkie dokie.  The weather, is lousy.  I’m bored of dark moody photos when it’s dark and moody enough outside.  It’s not Thanksgiving in Canada so I’m not much fussed about pumpkin, turkey, cranberry or mashed potato recipes (been there, done that – sorry folks).  I’m not ready to do Christmas baking soooo…

Let’s make cookies! Yay!!! <— Kermit T. Frog yay

Candy: M&Ms and Smarties

I made these cookies for two reasons… well, no… three reasons:

  1. I had to use up the leftover Halloween candy in my freezer
  2. I wanted to try out a new chocolate chip cookie recipe
  3. It was necessary to do a highly scientific taste test of which are better: Smarties (the real Canadian/UK chocolate kind – not the candy kind you get in the US that we call Rockets up here) or M&Ms.

When I say necessary what I mean is… I had both kinds before me at the same time and was eating them all together and it became obvious that one was far superior to the other… (you have to read this entire post to find out which one… AND NO SCROLLING DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO PEEK!! That’s cheating! Don’t be a cheaterpants!!)

Cookie dough with Smarties and M&Ms

Food Husband Sean gave me a copy of the The Treats Truck Book cookbook by Kim Ima to mess around with.  It’s a really cute book – he thought it would appeal to my designer self (which it did).  I just had to give him cookies in return.

Unbaked cookies ready for the oven

I made the raspberry brownies a few weeks ago and then yesterday, I decided to make her signature cookie, The Chocolate Chipper.  Except, I kinda changed it a bit (but not a lot). I wanted them to be a little more chocolate-y so I subbed some cocoa powder for some of the flour.  And I used chocolate M&Ms, Smarties (the Canadian kind) and peanut M&Ms and a few chocolate chips.

Cocoa Candy Chocolate Chipper Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cookie
Serves: 30
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅜ cup (I know, weird amount) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1½ tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1½ cups of chocolate chips, or suitable candy substitute
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  5. Slowly add to the wet mix until well combined
  6. Stir in chocolate chips or candy (do by hand if you're using an electric mixer)
  7. Drop by tbsp onto prepped cookie sheets (parchment paper, silpat or greased) about 2 inches apart
  8. Bake for 9-12 minutes (I had to bake for closer to 15)
  9. Let them sit on on the cookie sheets for a few minutes after removing from the oven, before moving to cooling racks
  10. Eat them!


Not all cookie recipes are created equal.  These cookies turned out very soft and a little chewy but the edges didn’t firm up as much as I like, despite leaving them in the oven an extra 3 minutes.  They almost had a store bought quality to them, which I’ve never managed to achieve at home before! (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not!) I might try them again and try baking even longer just to see if I can get a little bit of crispness around the edges.

Cookies with Paint Cans

Food Photography Tips

Photographing food that is light, bright and cheerful, when the light you are working with is dark, gloomy and miserable is a challenge. So I chose to shoot on white with simple colours that were bright and bold (kind of matching the candy!).

This is just two pieces of white foam board and light from my south facing kitchen window.  I also used a tripod so I could shoot at a low ISO and a slower shutter speed without any shake.

Exposure Compensation

I’ve mentioned this before but I find that over-exposing photos shot on white really helps make the white really bright without so many grey overtones – although they’re still visible here, especially in the last photo.  But all of these were overexposed by a few stops.   It works well when you use bright colours in the photo as well because they don’t wash out as easily.

You can do some contrast tweaking in Lightroom or your post processing software of choice along with some dodging/burning to help fix any issues with washed out colours, which I did indeed do here (I have a tutorial on dodging and burning coming soon!)

Smarties and M&Ms

Who’s Better? M&Ms or Smarties

Well, I can honestly say, it wasn’t even a contest.  Hands down it was Smarties.  Crunchier shell and the chocolate wasn’t anywhere near as sweet as the M&Ms.  Odd thing is, I never noticed this before.  I like them both but because I never eat them together, I never realized just how different they are and how different the chocolate is.

Way to go Smarties! Yay!! <—- more Kermit T Frog



  1. says

    I’m surprised that you found the Smarties better tasting. Surprised because I’m such a fan of the M&M’s (peanut butter ones are my favourites) so I guess I assumed everyone loves M&M’s :)
    Whatever you choose to toss into these cookies, I’m sure they are great and honestly, I’d eat the Smarties filled one too…just after I ate all the M&M ones.

    • Melissa says

      i loooooove peanut butter M&Ms! This was just chocolate vs chocolate, side by side and I was surprised too… they really do taste very different!

  2. Lissa says

    I am also surprised about the Smarties. We have purchase Smarties in Canada because they are peanut-free (unlike M&Ms), and I’ve never tried to bake with them because I’m used to creamier M&Ms and thought they would not bake as well. Maybe I should try it then!

    • Melissa says

      They have a much bigger crunch than the M&Ms – the shell is thicker. I’ve baked with them in the past many times (they make Christmas ones, just like M&Ms) and they work great. If you ever go to the UK, the orange ones are filled with orange chocolate :)

  3. Katie says

    Though I’m partial to M&M’s myself, I’d love to see how Reese’s Pieces work in a cookie, with that creamy peanut buttery feel to them! :)

  4. says

    I’m so glad that smarties won!!

    I laughed so hard when you told me not to scroll, I literally had my hand out reaching for the mouse to find out which was better.

    I’m a little bit confused though.. too early for Christmas baking? What does that sentence mean? It is NEVER to early for Christmas baking 😉

    • Melissa says

      Ah Stephanie… if I bake too early I eat it all by myself. No amount of running in the world is going to help with that! I’ll have to be rolled under the Christmas tree!

  5. says

    While reading your post, I seriously had the song “C is for Cookie” stuck in my head. Must have been the title. :)

    Also, where did you get your black baking mat from? I have a red one, but black is a much nicer background for cookies.

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