This week, I was a bit stumped when it came to figuring out what to bake. I had a few ideas, but none of them were grabbing my attention and making me excited to get into the kitchen. Cheddar chili pepper dinner rolls? Blah. Vegan cake: Meh. The next chocolate chip cookie butter taste test? Eh, I guess if there’s nothing else… These thoughts loafed around my head all weekend until I started to resign myself to the idea of baking something boring or skipping the bakeventure entirely (I know, blasphemy). Then I was reminded of my mother-in-law’s monster cookies.
I was first introduced to monster cookies in a box of Halloween goodies my then-future husband received from his mother, which he graciously shared with me. For those who don’t know, monster cookies are gigantic monstrosities that contain a little bit of everything. Oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, raisins, and M&Ms, to be specific. I thought they were unique and delicious, a combination of things which shouldn’t go together, but definitely do. I could have just asked for the recipe, but part of the fun of blogging about baking is coming up with the recipes (this is part of why I try to stay away from just writing about other people’s recipes). I did a quick search for “monster cookie recipe” and was surprised to find that they all follow a fairly standard template. While I’m sure that a fair amount of experimentation has taken place in the pursuit of excellence with these cookies, my inner Victor Frankenstein was not satisfied.
Why should monster cookies all be the same? I am Dr. Frankenstein, my monsters can be whatever I want them to be. With that megalomaniacal thought in mind, I set to work on bringing life to my own creation. Sure, I looked at a few classic monster cookie recipes for guidance, but that’s about all I took from them. I started off with my favorite Land O’ Lakes chocolate chip cookie recipe, then made it almost completely unrecognizable. I replaced most of the flour with quick-cooking rolled oats; I replaced some of the butter with extra chunky peanut butter; I replaced the chocolate chips with a “trail mix” of my own design. Finally, I had the blueprint for a monster which was both hideous and delicious.
When you put on your own mad scientist apron, the scalpel is in your hands. You can use creamy peanut butter instead of chunky if you so choose, but I’d suggest leaving the butter to peanut butter ratio the same. If you want to leave the peanut butter out entirely, replace it with another stick of butter. You can also use whatever blend of mix-ins you want, provided that they measure out to about 2½-3 cups in total. I’d avoid gummy candies because they will melt and make a sticky, burnt mess, but all manner of chocolate- and nut-based candies are fair game. I did have a bit of a problem with the Butterfinger bar melting in this way, but it wasn’t too bad of a disaster. These cookies are meant to be unsightly creatures, after all.
You will need the following ingredients:
For the mix-ins (to be adjusted as desired):
- 1 cup M&Ms
- 1 cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 Butterfinger bar, chopped
For the cookies:
- 3¼ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup (8 oz.) chunky peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2½-3 cups mix-ins of choice
For baking ambiance:
- I’m in a weird place musically these days, alternating between the Foo Fighters in the car and Parliament in the kitchen, with thoughts of Russian orchestral music at other times. I guess this is actually the perfect musical environment for these cookies, which are a delicious representation of all the strange things that unite to make me the kitchen badass that I am. Use this opportunity to indulge in your weirder musical cravings. Or just listen to Halloween music (Monster Mash, anyone?) if you think I’m a nutjob when it comes to my taste in multimedia.
laboratories kitchens, it’s baking time!
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil or grease them with butter.
In a small bowl, stir together your mix-ins of choice. Set this aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set this aside too.
In a stand mixer bowl or other large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and the two types of sugar. Cream them together until they’re nice and uniform.
Add in the peanut butter and beat the mixture until it looks somewhat like wet sand.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
Gradually add in the dry oat mixture, stirring well after each addition. If you are using a stand mixer, you may need to do the last bit by hand because this stuff is like cement, and it’s a lot for a poor stand mixer’s heart to take. Also, there is a lot of volume here, so it may reach over your beater by the time you’re done.
Stir in the mix-ins until they are roughly evenly distributed.
Scoop blobs of dough with an ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup (these are monsters, after all) and drop them onto the prepared cookie sheets. Squish them down slightly to make them look more like discs than balls.
Bake the cookies for 10-14 minutes. The edges should just be starting to brown and the tops will look dry.
Leave the cookies to cool for 10-15 minutes on the cookie sheets (until they are solid enough to move without breaking) and then remove them to cool completely on cooling racks.
Now that you have seen your creations in all of their glory, eat or serve them before you have to chase them off to the Arctic! [Woo for lame Gothic literary references!]
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Frankenstein’s Monster Cookies