June 9, 2009

Chocolate Rainbow Polka Dot Cookies (a.k.a Smarties/ M&Ms/ Gems Cookies!)

That post title caught your attention, didn't it? At least, until you saw the accompanying picture and said to yourself, "Oh, those are just Smarties/ M&Ms/ Gems (depending on which part of the world you live in)." I just thought that "Rainbow Polka Dot Cookies" sounded so much more interesting than " Smarties/ M&Ms/ Gems Cookies" or maybe "Chocolate Button Cookies"!

Smarties/ M&Ms/ Gems are colourful sugar coated chocolate buttons. When we were kids, where we lived these were called Smarties. I still remember they were manufactured by a company called Rowntree & Mackintosh (later taken over by Nestlé) and came in cardboard tubes with plastic lids which had a letter of the alphabet on the underside. Every time we bought a packet of these, I would divide them equally (colourwise) into 4 portions, one each for my mother, father, sister and myself! Those were the days!!

M&Ms are the American version of these and have an "M" printed on them. We get supplies of these on and off, every time someone comes visiting us from the U.S.

In India, Cadbury (or Cadbudry, as Akshaya used to call all chocolate when she was about 3 years old) manufactures and sells these chocolate buttons as Gems. Akshaya still likes them and will occasionally reserve certain favourite colours for herself and share the rest!

To get back to the cookies in this post, I have made these "Polka Dot" cookies a couple of times before quite a while back. This post at Vanielje Kitchen prompted me to make some again, but with the addition of some oats and peanuts like she did.
I also used a combination of all purpose and whole wheat flours.

The result was cookies which were not too sweet, just the way we like them. Please increase the sugar from 2/3 cup to 1 cup, if you prefer sweeter cookies.

Chocolate Rainbow Polka Dot Cookies
(Adapted from too many sources to mention)


3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats (or oat bran)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup oil

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup shelled and lightly roasted unsalted peanuts

1 to 1 1/2 cups Gems/ Smarties/ M&Ms


Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces, or run them in the mixer/ blender to break them. Do not make them into smaller crumbs or a powder. Keep aside.
Run the oats as well and grind into a coarse powder. Keep aside.

In a bowl, sift together the all purpose and whole wheat flours, salt and baking powder. Add the powdered oats and peanut pieces and mix well. Keep aside.
In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Add the oil and beat till well mixed. Now add the egg and vanilla extract and beat together till mixed. Add the dry ingredients from the other bowl and mix well, using a wooden spoon till well blended.

Divide into balls roughly the size of big walnuts/ small lemons and lightly flatten, placing them on a baking sheet leaving enough space between them. Press about 6 each of the Gems/ Smarties/ M&Ms on the top of each cookie. This may seem a lot, but the cookies will spread a bit while baking and will look okay.

Bake at 190C for between 12 and 15 minutes till the cookies start browning lightly around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes. The cookies will be very soft and need these 5 minutes to harden. Remove and place on a rack to cool completely.

Serve or store in air-tight containers. This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies depending on the size. I got 20 cookies which were approx. 2 3/4" in diameter each.

If you prefer, you can top the cookies with white or dark chocolate chips instead. They taste just as good. These cookies are a great after school snack for children and I know that many adults would also find it hard to resist them.
I'm not very fond of cookies, but even I thought they were pretty good.

I also found some very nice looking cookies of a similar kind at Delishfood, Café Fernando and Passionate About Baking.


Parita said...

Oh..these look so cute..kids will go crazy behind this :)

Prathibha said...

They look absolutely divine....yummy..

Ria said...

Lovely cookies Aparna ! I'm still the way you were...I am the one who still divides chocolates between my dad,mom ,bro nd myself!! :D If it's for my bro...we wud never get any!!

And Cadbudry was so cute! I used to call chapathi...apathappa for some weird reason and babba for water! LOL! Wonder what all will my future generation will come up with! :D

di_ani said...

They looks great -
fresh and summer!

Raaga said...

I knew exactly what these were when it came up on my reader... am I smart or what??? ;-)

MAHIMA said...

Look adorable :)

Happy cook said...

I prefer the taste of gems far bettr than the smarites, could be gems takes me back to my childhood,were we only got them as special treat.
Love the cookies. Looks beautiful.

Veena said...

Now the part that my sister left out in this story is the agonizing moments she went through when there were an uneven number in the tube and she had to decide on who got the extra one! She was always scrupulously fair though I have to say!

Yummy post as always...

Nithya Praveen said...

A perfect kiddie stuff.Looks wonderful....i like the last click,its really good!

Suparna said...

hi arundathi,
chocolates buttons in an form are so yummm...I love to pop it in the mouth and go katum kutum ;)
reading your childhood memories was fun and ur sisters comment was really cute :)

Coming to the recipe love the blend of flours and oats.The baked cookies look damn good esp. the cracked gems look gorgeous :)
Btw...I was eyeing the brass vase and the cute little flowers in them ...makes the place so bright!


Dhanya Nambirajan said...

Cookies looks crunchy,colorful and cute.

Cilantro said...

Nice and good looking cookies.

Manggy said...

Importers to the Philippines are rabid. We get both Smarties and M&Ms :) The cookies look so moreish, I want one! Dozen!

Simran said...

Oh! I love Gems still. In our office cafetaria in London, they make giant cookies every afternoon with M&Ms - they are usually all gone 2 minutes after they come out of the oven.

sra said...

Who doesn't love Gems? I was imagining dark chocolate cookies studded with Gems till I saw the pic.
And I think Rowntree is famous for toffee as well, seem to have seen something with that name - guess it's a separate brand tho' it's been taken over by Nestle.

Pari said...

Hi! That looks yummy. Try mine at cooking-goodfood.blogspot.com

african vanielje said...

Aparna, they all look gorgeous. These are definitely a crown pleaser every time.

african vanielje said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aparna said...

Thanks, I also thought they looked cute. :)

So we have something more in common, Ria.

Raaga, sure you're smart. :)

I know what you mean HC. I still feel Smarties taste the best, probably because I ate them the first. I like Gems too, but find M&Ms too sweet.

I remember that too, Veena. But thought I wouldn't bore everyone with the whole story! :D

Thanks, Nithya.

Suparna, the brass vessel is one of my favourites.

Mark, our importers aren't far behind. We get M&Ms (and some other brands too!) here too. They're just very exhorbitantly priced.

I'm not surprised, Simran. Tea and cookies. :)
The inspiration behind this particular batch weas also some giant cookies.

Sra, Rowntree used to make toffees too. And they used have these chocolates in a round tin under the name of "Quality Street".

Inge, that's compliment coming from you. After all, your cookies were the inspiration for this particular batch. :)

Vaishali said...

How beautiful these look, Aparna. I do remember those Cadbury's Gems of my childhood, and the picture of you dividing them up for your family made me smile.

Hannah said...

What colorful, cheerful cookies! I can't imagine that any child (or adult, for that matter) would be able to resist! :)

Pavithra said...

Lovely cooking and my sons favourite pass me those..

Lien said...

These look like gems indeed. So festive. I remember those cardboard rolls with the smarties in them too, the plastic caps had animal pictures on them here/in my childhood.

Arfi Binsted said...

uhmmm... another kitchen project for me and my children once i saw this hehehe...

virginie said...

hummmm !!!
your cookies look so delicious !!!

Bharti said...

I grew up on smarties so I know what ur talking about! My mom still buys sends them for the kiddos sometimes. IMO, the smarties are not a patch on the M n Ms. Lovely cookies.

Aparna said...

Looks like most of us have these coloured chocolate buttons somewhere in our past! :)

And yes Arfi, this is one great way to have fun with the kids.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

thank you for this recipe! I made these topped with both gems and chocolate chips and both my sons love it! I actually thought the sugar was a little less but they didn't seem to care, so I think there's no need to add more!!

Aparna said...

You're most welcome, Roshni.
Yes, these cookies aren't quite as sweet as usual and that's why I liked them. :)
The chocolate compensates to some extent. That's also why I mentioned that you could add more sugar for a sweeter cookie. Glad your sons liked them.

Mansi said...

they do stand up to their name - Smarties!:)