October 13, 2011

Monster cookies

I thought this would be a perfect time to try a batch of monster cookies - you know, with Halloween just a couple of weeks away.  I'm not totally sure why these cookies are called monster cookies.  I guess because they're supposed to be big, hearty cookies...or maybe it's the kind of thing cookie monster would gobble right up. 
Sometimes these are called kitchen-sink cookies or anything cookies because you can add whatever goodies you like in them.  In general, we're talking about oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and M&M's.  That's the equation we have going here but you can get creative and mix in whatever you like: nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, puffed cereal, Reese's pieces, toffee bits, and on and on.
I was a little dubious about these cookies.  Though I enjoy M&M's, I'm usually not a fan of cookies with M&M's or other types of candy in them.  At the risk of sounding snooty, it just seems kind of "junky".  And peanut butter cookies tend to taste a little too rich for me (spoken by the girl who loves ridiculously rich and gooey chocolate desserts).  But these turned out to be really good.  There is a ton of oats in this recipe that provides a delicious chewiness.  The peanut butter adds richness (not overly so) and a wonderful fragrance.  Of course, the chocolate chips are always welcomed in any cookie and surprisingly, I get the role of the M&M's.  Like my husband says, the M&M's add a nice little crunch with its candy coating.  Best part, these cookies are not too sweet.  They were a pleasant surprise.  This is another great recipe from the guys at Baked.

The recipe for this particular batch of monster cookies comes from the book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.  The full recipe makes a whole lot of monster cookies, I'd say about 42, and we're talking big cookies.  I went with a half recipe (though this does mean using 2 1/2 eggs; I just lightly whip the last egg and pour in about half) and you can get a good 22 cookies using a large ice cream scoop. 
Plan ahead when making these cookies.  The dough should refrigerate for 5 hours or so before baking. 

In a mixing bowl, I whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and oats.  There is just a scant 1/2 cup of flour (1/4 cup in my case for a half recipe) but 5 3/4 cups of oats in a full recipe.  The dominance of oats gives it a very nice chewy texture and offsets the sweetness.  The other major ingredients we need are smooth peanut butter, some chocolate chips and M&M's (in this case orange for the season/Halloween theme but you could use any you like).
Start by creaming the butter until just smooth.  I didn't read the recipe carefully so I used room temperature butter when the recipe actually says to use cold butter, cut into cubes.  With the weather being cool and the dough getting refrigerated later, it luckily didn't make a difference (I don't think) in the end.  Add the brown and granulated sugar and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl afterwards.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing it in and scraping down the bowl each time again.  Then add a bit of corn syrup and vanilla, and mix in. 
The batter will be creamy and kind of airy at this point when you add the peanut butter, which thickens it up.  Mix in the peanut butter, scrape down the bowl, and blend in the oat mixture in three additions.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and lightly stir in the chocolate chips and M&M's with a rubber spatula. 
Once everything is mixed together, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 5 hours.  I'm not sure if the 5 hour mark is scientific but I'm guessing it's more a suggested minimum amount of time.  The dough really does need to refrigerate a bit since it's too soft (and would spread too much) to bake immediately.  The chilling time also gives the dough a chance absorb all the flavors going on in there. 
When you're ready to bake these, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop the dough out using a large (about 2 tablespoons size) ice cream scoop.  You could certainly make them a bit smaller and adjust the baking time but these are intended to be on the oversize or "monster" scale.
Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine were done in 12 minutes but it depends on factors like your oven and the color of your baking sheets), rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time.  They are ready once browned. 
These cookies were very tasty.  There is a great balance of flavors from the nutty peanut butter to the chewy oats and slightly crunchy M&M's.  They're not too sweet!  Even with half a recipe, I had plenty to share and since they are big and packed with flavor, they're quite satisfying. 


Monster Cookies 
From Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

- Makes approximately 42 cookies using large (2 tablespoon size) ice cream scoops - 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
5 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&M's

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.  Add oats and stir until combined.

Place cubes of butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until pale and smooth.  Add the sugars and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Avoid overmixing.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add eggs, one at a time, beating each for about 20 seconds and scraping down the bowl after each.  Mix in corn syrup and vanilla extract.

Scrape the bowl again and add peanut butter.  Mix until smooth and add oat mixture in 3 intervals.  Mix on low speed until incorporated.

Remove bowl from the stand mixer and lightly stir in the chocolate chips and M&M's with a rubber spatula.  Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate dough for 5 hours. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop out dough using a large ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoon size balls), placing them about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.  The cookies are done when they begin to brown.  Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 3 days. 

Variations:  Get creative with the mix-in's.  Use some combination (totaling 2 cups) of ingredients such as:  toasted nuts, dried fruit like raisins, pretzel pieces, puffed cereal, rice crispies, cornflakes, Reese's pieces, toffee bits...whatever sounds appealing that you can think of.


  1. Found them on your site! They look awesome! I love all those oats! And good call on halving the recipe. No one needs 40+ of these babies all at once :)

  2. Yes, I love the amount of oats too and everything works really well altogether!



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