Updated on March 9, 2015
It only seems fitting that my first blog post should be about Monster Cookies because this is where my baking adventures truly began. I did not grow up at my mom’s or grandma’s apron strings learning how to add a pinch of this and a dash of that to a family favorite to make it taste just right. I remember licking an occasional beater of frosting and decorating a few sugar cookies, but cooking and baking were mostly off-limits to me as I was growing up. In college my cooking repertoire began with the typical boxed macaroni and cheese, Ramen soup, and Hamburger Helper, but then along came Monster Cookies… It was my second year at college and my second year of living in the dorms on campus. A couple of my friends from the first year in the dorm had moved to an off-campus house and invited several of us over for a movie or games and…MONSTER COOKIES. I don’t believe that I had ever had a Monster Cookie before that. It has everything you could want in one cookie–oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, AND M&Ms. I was in love.
Eventually, I got the recipe, and they became my signature item. I was soon dubbed “The Cookie Lady.” What most people didn’t know was that they were my ONLY item for a long time, so I made sure to get the most out of them. My first job after college was as a teacher in a correctional facility. I brought Monster Cookies and quickly won favor. After I moved to Colorado, I brought Monster Cookies to every job I ever had (students and staff alike benefited), every potluck, every church event, and every time I went back to Minnesota to visit. I permanently won over one of my friend’s family members because I made sure I never visited without bringing a container of monster cookies. Grown women would imitate Cookie Monster’s “Me want cooookie” when I came near. I loved it. People started saying I should sell my cookies or start a cookie shop or some such thing. I didn’t think I could make it as a “one hit wonder,” so I eventually branched out and learned how to make some other stuff. Good thing, I suppose, or this would be a pretty short-lived blog: “Here’s how to make Monster Cookies. The End. Bye, Bye now.”
Monster Cookies began my addiction to baking. I loved creating something with my hands that somehow turned out well, and I have to admit, I loved the praise and attention too. I was good at it. I also learned that baking was a way I could tell someone I loved him or her without having to say the words. Baking was love to me and from me. I don’t make Monster Cookies very often anymore because I can make so many other things now, and I love trying new recipes, but I have a sentimental attachment and loyalty to my baking roots. A couple of years ago, I actually auditioned for a new amateur baking show that was going to be on television, and I was to come to the audition in Chicago with my “signature item” prepared. After much debate, I ended up making a cookie tray which included the beloved Monster Cookies, and though I ultimately did not make it on the show, my cookies did earn me a spot as a finalist in Chicago. Monster Cookies have been good to me. I hope you will like them too.
One of the great things about Monster Cookies is that you can customize them for any holiday with all of the fun varieties of M&Ms that exist now, or you can just use the standard colors for anytime. One down-side of the holiday colored ones that I have found is that I buy the M&Ms, thinking I will make monster cookies, and then it gets put off until the holiday is well over. What do I do? Make the cookies anyway and everyone will know they are getting kind of “outdated” cookies or eat them? The kids see it as a win-win either way. 🙂 The cookies freeze well and the recipe makes quite a few cookies, depending on how big you make them.
The ingredient line-up is pretty standard with the addition of M&Ms: butter, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar, baking soda, chocolate chips, and M&Ms. I believe the original recipe called for an entire dozen eggs–part of the reason they were called MONSTER cookies; you would get a monster batch–but when I copied the recipe down, I automatically halved it. You may want to cut the recipe to half again, depending on how many cookies you want. The original recipe also lists all of the ingredients and simply says, “mix in order.” After many years of using the order given (eggs and sugar first and then butter), I began creaming the butter and sugar first like most cookie recipes, and then add everything else in. I think it all blends better that way. And I ALWAYS mix them by hand with a wooden spoon. No mixer.
Once the dough is well-mixed, I pop it into the refrigerator to chill for a few hours or overnight. You can make the cookies right away, but they seem to hold their shape a little better when the dough has been chilled first. When I am ready to bake, I set the bowl of dough out for an hour or so to take the chill off and preheat the oven. I line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper, just because many of my pans are old and kind of yucky looking. I use an Oxo cookie scoop to get nice evenly-sized cookies, but in the beginning, I just rolled them with my hands. My scoop isn’t labeled with a size, but it holds a little more than two tablespoons of water. I push the cookie dough balls down a little with my hand after I put them on the pan, just to try to encourage them to spread out a little more while they bake. If the M&Ms have not distributed well, I hand place some extra ones on the tops and push them in. I do not like overly brown or crunchy cookies, so 12 minutes in my oven is perfect. Sometimes I will lightly pat a cookie down with a spatula right when it comes out of the oven if it didn’t spread well. Leave them on the pan on the stove top while the next pan bakes, and then move them to a counter or tabletop to finish cooling. Voila! Yummy monster cookies that you can eat by yourself or share with a friend.
Ingredients: Note that many of the ingredients are listed in the original recipe in pound measurements rather than the more standard cups. I have included the conversions to cups along with the weights.
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 lb. brown sugar (approximately 2 1/3 cups)
- 4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 lb. butter or margarine (2 sticks or 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 lbs. peanut butter (approximately 2 1/2 cups–I always use crunchy, but creamy would work too
- 9 cups oatmeal–I have used all quick oats or a mixture of quick oats and old fashioned (for this batch I used 3 cups old fashioned and 6 cups quick)
- 1/2 pound M&Ms (approximately 1 1/4 cups) plus extra for adding to dough balls later–I usually use peanut; holiday varieties can make them more festive
- 1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips (approximately 1 1/3 cups)
- Cream the butter and the sugars until well combined and then add in everything else, mixing as you go.
- Chill the dough for an hour or more. (Not absolutely necessary, but I think they hold together better)
- Scoop dough into balls with hands or a cookie scoop and place on a parchment or foil-lined pan. If the M&Ms are not distributed as you like, keep a few extra aside to hand place in the cookies that look skimpy.
- Bake at 350 for 12 minutes and enjoy the deliciousness.
Yield with my 2+ Tbsp. cookie scoop: 67 cookies.
Source: My friend Dianne