The first time I had a Monster Cookie I was in my first week of college in the midst of field hockey two-a-days. I had just met my soon-to-be best friend Sarah and I knew instantly that we’d hit it off because she had ALL the snacks. Since I was playing a fall sport I missed the hall-wide journey to the dining hall each day and therefore had absolutely no clue where it was and was very very hungry as a result. Turns out, it was feet from my front door. Looking back on this time I am shocked that 18 year olds are considered legal adults.
But back to those cookies. Sarah grew up in Lancaster County and her mother was raised Mennonite and had the most amazing traditional Pennsylvania Dutch style family recipes. Her mom and grandmother would assemble these epic handmade care packages and send them to campus and each time one arrived it was like Christmas day. My most favorite part was always the Monster Cookies. Since I was a newly minted legal adult, I assumed that since they were made with oats and peanut butter, they were basically the equivalent of a bowl of oatmeal and I would enjoy one for breakfast and then another as a pre-practice snack. Let’s just say I more than made up for those first few days of surviving on whatever snacks my mom sent me to school with.
Fast forward almost 20 years and Sarah and I are all grown up now, each with two kids of our own and I’ve been trying to recreate the magic of those cookies ever since. They have become one of the things I reach for when I need some comfort, or I want to offer some to the ones I love. If you have a new baby you better believe I’m sending you a batch. Whatever hunger I thought I felt as a clueless 18 year old pales in comparison to those first few weeks postpartum!
While the recipe I’ve developed over the years is still not *quite* as good as Sarah’s family recipe, what I love most about it is that it is endlessly adaptable. Don’t have M&Ms? Just swap for more chocolate chips or even a butterscotch chip. Have some chip and pretzel crumbs laying around? Toss them in for a hit of salty crunch. Whatever you do, find yourself a friend who recognizes your own ‘Here, you look hungry’ moment.
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar (220 grams)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter (448 grams)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (113 grams)
- 1 cup M&Ms (175 grams)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (170 grams)
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (320 grams)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (38 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add eggs and both sugars and mix at medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add vanilla extract and salt and mix for one minute more. Scape the bowl again, then add peanut butter and butter, mixing at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until well combined.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. Add M&Ms, chocolate chip, oats, coconut and baking soda. Mix until all of the ingredients are well combined, about 2 minutes.
- Remove mixer bowl and fold the dough together by hand for 1 minute to ensure everything is well distributed, then scoop using a large (1/4 cup) spring-loaded cookie scoop, dropping the cookies about 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for about 16 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and back to front half way through baking time. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the baking pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days (if they last that long!)
I’ve had the bourbon shortbread cookies and they taste like a true “Old Fashion”.
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Love you Molly! I’m so glad I shared those snacks with you 😍. These cookies are just a hunk of…
Love you Molly! I’m so glad I shared those snacks with you 😍. These cookies are just a hunk of love. I can’t wait to try coconut in them – genius!