Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monster Cookies (Gluten Free)

 These are the cookies that I am taking to a holiday cookie exchange party this afternoon. I love these cookies not only because they are delicious (because they are!) but also because of how easy they are to throw together. And with a fifth little one demanding my attention, I need things to be as easy as possible right now. Have you heard of a dump cake? Where you just dump the ingredients together and bake. Well, these are pretty much dump cookies. It takes minimal mixing and no fooling around with wet and dry ingredients separately. They are so easy my almost 5 year old can make them with no interference from me. So, if you find yourself needing an easy cookie for a party these might be your ticket! As an added bonus, they are gluten free (if you need that sort of thing) but don't taste like it. (I should note that if you have a high sensitivity to gluten then make sure you get products that specifically say "gluten free" on them. While all of these ingredients are inherently gluten free, some products -like the oats or the chocolate- might be made in a factory that handles gluten so just be aware of that.)
  Ok, onto the recipe:

First, get all of your mix-ins together. These are all the "chunks" in the cookies that you want to munch on. Really, they could be anything you like. I have a mixture of Christmas themed milk chocolate M&Ms, semi sweet chocolate chips, roasted and chopped pecans, and Craisins.

Then assemble the batter. It consists of room temperature butter, chunky peanut butter, white sugar, dark brown sugar, salt, baking soda, pure vanilla extract, and eggs. No need to cream the butter and sugars and add eggs one at a time like other recipes call for. Just put everything into the bowl of your mixer (or in a large bowl and use a hand mixer), and that's it.

Beat it together until smooth (there will be some tiny lumps from the chunky peanut butter), and that part's done!

Now, just add in the oats (I only keep old fashioned on hand, so that is what I use. I think they add a nice chew and texture to the cookies.)

When the oats are mixed in, then it's time for all your "chunks."

Just mix until everything is combined, and then scoop out onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I use my smallest scoop, and my biggest pan so I can bake 1 dozen at a time. (This recipe makes about 6 1/2 dozen of this size.)

Sorry the color is so horrible in these pictures. It was very rainy and overcast when I was baking, and my florescent kitchen lights doesn't do the food any favors.
After baking @ 350F for 8 minutes, they come out looking like this:

Just let them cool before packing up to take to your party. (If you can keep your husband from eating them all. I needed 3 dozen cookies for the party, and he would eat some from every batch, so I ended up baking 4 1/2 dozen cookies so that I would have enough. I portioned out and froze the other 2 dozen cookie dough balls for later use.)

These pictures were taken this morning, when the light was a little better. It's still overcast and rainy, but at least the sun isn't setting. :)

I think they are called monster cookies because they are like every cookie rolled into one. Kind of like Frankenstein, they are just a jumble of parts thrown together that work.

They are so yummy. I actually made a batch of these two weeks ago, and I made the mistake of baking up all 6 1/2 dozen cookies. Then I proceeded to eat them all (OK, not ALL. I did let the family have some  . . . but not many). This time I was smarter, and froze some for later. :)
Here's the recipe:
adapted from Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies *You can use any mix-ins you like
makes 6-7 dozen cookies
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened (I use salted, but either works)
*3/4 cup milk chocolate M&M's
*3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*3/4 cup roasted, chopped pecans
*1/2 cup craisins, optional
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together the eggs, sugars, salt, vanilla, butter, peanut butter, and baking soda until smooth. (There will be small chunks from the chunky peanut butter.) Mix in the oats, then the *mix-ins: M&M's, chocolate chips, pecans, and craisins. When everything is combined, scoop out dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I use my smallest scoop and get cookies that are 2-3 inches across after baking. Bake for 8 -10 minutes (do not over bake! Mine only take 8 minutes in my oven.). Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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