Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies and M&M Graham Cookies

Every year the city of Austin turns one of its moonlight towers into a giant Christmas tree. The tree is located in Zilker Park and is viewable from many parts of the city – especially Loop 1/Mopac which cuts through the city going north and south. One tradition is spinning under the tree, which is open to visitors. It’s a dizzying experience, to be sure. After spinning, families take a stroll along the Trail of Lights, a mile-long path decorated with lights and holiday scenes. You have to see it to believe it, so here are a few pictures. I tried to take more but the Christmas lights interfered with my cameras setting and all the pictures had dots. This is the only one that turned out.

Zilker Park Tree

Here’s a good slide show by someone who really knows how to use a camera.


It’s been a fun week, and today is special too. It’s the first day of Hanukkah and there’s a birthday in our family. To celebrate, I have made two new cookie recipes, both of which were put out by food manufacturers.

The first recipe is a chocolate chip cookie made with almond paste. It’s from Odense – the almond paste people.

The second recipe is from M&M’s. It’s an M&M cookie with a twist. (New link to recipe).

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies — These were okay, but not quite what I expected. They were moist and tender. The cookies I baked look nothing like the cookies in the Odense photo. I kind of suspected this would be the case because their cookies are tan even though the recipe contains 1/4 cup chocolate syrup. My cookies are mucky looking. The flavor is good, but I’d like to try these using golden syrup or brown sugar syrup instead of chocolate syrup. Also, the cookies on the Odense site look big, dry and kind of crackly. Mine are rather flat and definitely not dry. If you make these, please let me know how yours turn out.


The second cookies have an interesting flavor thanks to the graham cracker crumbs. I didn’t have any M&M baking bits, so I just stuck a few regular M&Ms in for color and used semi-sweet chocolate chips. These were different, but again, they turned out tender rather than crunchy. If you like tender cookies, you might like these. I’m on the fence here.


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  1. cookiemonster says

    Anna, you are very lucky to live in such a beautiful city!!! That light display is awesome….the best I’ve ever seen. Thanks! I made Monster Cookies this week (Paula Deen-no flour) and added cherry craisins and walnuts and lots more M&M’s and Choc. Chips than called for. I used red and green M&M’s to make them more Christmasy. Yum, Yum!!!

  2. Anna says

    I had the TV on the other day and heard Paula Deen in the background making those monsters. I really need to whip up a batch.

    Today, I’m taking a break from cookies.

  3. Valerie says

    I am making the almond cookies using corn syrup instead of chocolate syrup. they are in the oven now. I will report back.

  4. Therese says

    Thanks for giving us a great photo of the Austin lights!! Waaaay cool! I love that idea of spinning around at looking at the lights!! Kind of like when I was a kid and would lay under the tree and cross my eyes!!! That was cosmic!
    I have been just a baking away…many of your recipes Anna!! Love those
    browned shortbread cookies..I used the mini-chips and pecans.
    As always, you ROCK!!
    Happy Hanukkah & Happy Birthday to your hubby!!

  5. valerie says

    The almond paste cookies made with corn syrup instead of chocolate syrup came out really well. They don’t look like the photo on the odense site. They are pretty flat. But they have a great taste and are very chewy inside with nice crisp edges. the edges have a light kind of crispness to them. If you underbake you probably won’t get that crispness, though, and they will be all chewy.

    I like that the almond flavor is definitely there, but it doesn’t taste artificial or overpowering.

  6. Anna says

    Val, thanks again for testing these. Your version is above.

    Hi Amy! Yes, I guess she’s tall. I’m so used to looking at her that it doesn’t phase me. All I see is her beauty (sniff). LOL. She’s kind of sad this weekend because her “boyfriend” from school is moving back to Malaysia.

  7. LonghornGal says

    Love Fuzz’s headband. 🙂

    Glad you could come. Later in the evening we were chillin’ on the porch and saw people driving by in cars taking pictures of anatomically correct Bevo. Too funny.

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