How to Make the BEST Monster Cookies

July 6, 2020
Loaded with peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips and M&Ms, Monster Cookies are a classic favorite.  But there are about as many variations of Monster Cookie recipes as there are bakers who bake them.  We tested 5 key variables and tried several different ways to figure out how to make the BEST Monster Cookies around. -- And believe me, these super tasty beauties do not disappoint.
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The BEST Monster Cookies Recipe Image

My 10-year-old daughter Miss H. and I recently went on a quest to figure out how to make the absolute best Monster Cookies around.

What exactly are Monster Cookies, you ask?  They're essentially big peanut butter oatmeal cookies loaded up with chocolate chips and M&Ms.  And oh yes, they're just as tasty as that sounds.

But in looking through various Monster Cookie recipes, it seems there are about as many variations as there are bakers who bake them. While many Monster Cookie recipes add in things like coconut, butterscotch chips, or chopped peanuts, the four traditional elements of peanut butter, oats, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and M&Ms are what truly make classic Monster Cookies just that -- Monster Cookies.

We tested 5 key variables to figure out how to make the BEST Monster Cookies around. - And believe me, these super tasty beauties do not disappoint.

So Miss H. and I decided to take several Monster Cookie recipes, try them out, and test 5 different variables to figure out what works best for these iconic cookies.

The 5 variables we tested were:
  1. Flour or no flour
  2. Old-fashioned oats, quick oats, or a combination of both
  3. Chill the dough or no chilling
  4. "Standard" combination of Monster Cookie mix-ins vs. extra add-ins
  5. Granulated sugar or a combination of both granulated and brown sugar together

And I must say, not only did we have a lot of fun working with these cookies, we came up with some pretty tasty results, too!

The BEST Monster Cookies with Chocolate Chips and M&Ms Image

What we found:

1. Flour or No Flour ~ When scouring through Monster Cookie recipes, we found about half had no flour, while the other half included a small touch of all-purpose flour -- 1/2 cup, to be exact.  We wondered, would this relatively small amount of flour have an impact -- positively or negatively -- on the finished cookies?

The answer is a resounding, definite yes -- the flour has a positive impact.

We much preferred the Monster Cookies made with just that little bit of flour in the batter.  This quite crumbly dough was more cohesive with the flour addition, and the cookies baked up with a more tender texture.

Our finding = Include flour.


2. Type of Oats ~ Monster Cookie recipes run the gamut when it comes to the type of oats.  Some call for all old-fashioned oats, some for all quick oats, and some call for a combination of the two.  We put all three of these to the test to see which produced the best cookie texture.

The Monster Cookies made with just old-fashioned oats proved to be just too chewy, in our opinion.  The old-fashioned oats remained pretty firm, and their texture was kind of tough and fibrous in the baked cookies.  While better in the version made with a combination of both old-fashioned and quick oats, the old-fashioned oats were still too firm and chewy for our taste.

The Monster Cookies made with just quick oats, on the other hand, had a nice texture without being too chewy.  We liked this version best.

Our finding = Use just quick oats.

In our tests, chilling the dough made no discernible difference in the baked cookies.

3. Chill the Dough or Not? ~ While not all Monster Cookie recipes have you chill the dough before baking, a few we ran across did.  And one recipe I found said to chill the dough for 5 hours!  So we decided to test dough chilling to see if it made any difference in the finished cookies.

This one is quite simple -- In our tests, chilling the dough made no discernible difference in the baked cookies.

Dough chilling is generally used to keep cookies from spreading as they bake, because quite simply, colder dough = less spread.  Chilling cools down the fat (ie: butter) in the dough, which means it will melt more slowly ... and slower melt, in turn, means less spread.

Well, while there is indeed butter in this Monster Cookies recipe, most of the fat in this recipe is from peanut butter.  And peanut butter doesn't melt and spread like butter does when baked, retaining its shape much more readily.  We had no troubles with spreading when baking these with unchilled dough.  In fact, these cookies spread very very little when baked, chilled or not.

Our finding = No need to chill the dough.  

The BEST Monster Cookies Ingredients Image

4. Mix-Ins ~ The standard elements of Monster Cookies are peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips and M&Ms.  These four things are what make classic Monster Cookies just that -- Monster Cookies.

But yet, in reviewing Monster Cookie recipes, we came across many that added in lots of other stuff -- from coconut, to chopped peanuts, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, and even dried cranberries.

We decided to test the "standard" combination of Monster Cookie mix-ins vs. cookies with some extra add-ins.  We didn't test every extra mix-in we read about, mind you, but did test several.

Although Monster Cookies are sometimes called "Everything Cookies," this is one time we didn't think "everything" was best.

Our verdict? -- Stick with the traditional Monster Cookie combination.  We found the cookies' flavor just gets too muddled when other stuff is added in.  Although Monster Cookies are sometimes called "Everything Cookies," this is one time we didn't think "everything" was best.

Our finding = Stick with the standard Monster Cookie mix of peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, and M&Ms.


5. Sugar ~ Back when we experimented with recipes to figure out how to make the best oatmeal cookies, we tested them out using granulated sugar, brown sugar, and both.  We found a combination of both granulated and brown sugar to be best.

Since Monster Cookies are basically peanut butter oatmeal cookies, we figured the same would hold true for them. -- And we were right.  Use a combination of granulated and brown sugar for the best, richest flavor.

A touch of brown sugar flavor goes beautifully with the oats in Monster Cookies, just as it does in regular oatmeal cookies, too.

Our finding = Use a combination of granulated and brown sugar

Monster Cooker Dough Image

Now that we've talked about how the elements of our BEST Monster Cookies recipe came to be, let's take a look at how to make a batch of these super tasty beauties.

Start by whipping up a basic cookie dough loaded with creamy peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, and quick oats mixed with just a little bit of flour.  As mentioned above, this recipe has just 1/2 cup flour.  This may not seem like much, but just that little bit has a very positive impact on the texture of the baked cookies.

Once the base dough is made, by hand stir in a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3/4 cup M&M candies.  As a side note, 3/4 cup M&Ms is about 9 Halloween fun size packs, if you happen to be using up extra Halloween candy to make these!

Also note: You'll need more chocolate chips and M&Ms later on in making these for the tops of the cookies.

How to Make The BEST Monster Cookies Image

Then drop the dough by 3 tablespoon scoops onto a baking sheet.

Scooping these cookies large is one of the things that makes them so good.  A full 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie creates a nice-sized, nice-thickness, soft and tender cookie.

I always use a cookie scoop, because it makes this step super easy. -- And ensures I stick to scooping these Monster Cookies nice and big.

Cookie Scoop with Monster Cookie Dough Image

Space the dough balls out on the baking sheet, scooping only 8 cookies to a pan.

While Monster Cookies don't really spread much while baking, they're large cookies and still need their space.

Monster Cookie Dough Balls on Baking Sheet Image

Use your hand or the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten each dough ball into a patty.

Pressing Down Monster Cookie Dough Ball with Hand Image

The cookie "patty" should still be a bit thick and look about like this:


Then to get that colorful and extra-loaded Monster Cookie top we love, place additional chocolate chips and M&Ms on the top of each dough patty.  Press them just slightly into the dough to embed them on the top of the cookie.

I usually put about 4 or 5 chocolate chips and 4 or 5 M&Ms on the top of each patty, depending on how many are already showing through on the surface of the scooped dough ball.  You want to have nice "coverage" of add-ins across the whole top surface of the cookies.

This step is key in baking up Monster Cookies that not only taste fabulous and enticing, but look fabulous and enticing, as well.

Adding Extra Chocolate Chips and M&Ms to Monster Cookies Before Baking Image

Then pop the cookies in the oven and bake them for 10-11 minutes until set and just barely a light golden brown.  

Do not over bake Monster Cookies, as they'll turn hard. -- Just 10-11 minutes only, no more.  And I always do mine on the 10 minute end.

Once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before removing them to a rack to cool completely.  If you try to move these off the baking pan too soon, they're prone to cracking and crumbling on you, for sure.

Baked Monster Cookies on Baking Sheet Image

Now that we've talked about how to make Monster Cookies, let's look at a few pretty common questions about them.

Common questions about Monster Cookies:

1. Why are Monster Cookies called Monster Cookies, anyway?

There doesn't seem to be clear consensus on how Monster Cookies got their name.  An early account of the cookies from 1971 indicates they got their name from the shear amount of stuff loaded into them.  While others think it's because they look like monsters with their bumpy texture and variety of colors.  Yet others thinks it's because of the monstrous size of the cookies themselves.

And one other account I found?  Well, it states they're called Monster Cookies because they're Frankenstein's monster of the cookie world -- a mash-up of parts of different cookie recipes.  Part oatmeal cookie, part peanut butter cookie, and part chocolate chip.

But however they got their name, one thing's for sure -- these things are just plain good.


2. What's in a Monster Cookie?

Monster Cookies are a combination of peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips and M&Ms.  While many Monster Cookie recipes add in other things like coconut, butterscotch chips, or chopped peanuts, these four traditional things are what truly make classic Monster Cookies just that -- Monster Cookies.

Use only regular creamy peanut butter in this recipe, not crunchy or natural peanut butter.

3. Why are my Monster Cookies falling apart?

If Monster cookies are removed from the baking sheet too soon after coming out of the oven, they are prone to cracking and crumbling.  Let the baked cookies stand for 3 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a rack to cool completely.

Also, some peanut butters are creamier and have more moisture than others, which can affect the dough.  Use only regular creamy peanut butter in this recipe, not crunchy or natural peanut butter.  Crunchy and natural peanut butter are drier than creamy, and will therefore make drier, more crumbly cookies. As a sidenote, I use JIF creamy peanut butter when making mine.


4. Can I freeze Monster Cookies?

Absolutely, baked Monster Cookies freeze very well.  Place the completely cooled baked cookies in a sealable freezer-safe container or zip-loc bag.  I like to also cover them with a sheet of wax paper.  Then, pop in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the container at room temperature.


5. Can I freeze Monster Cookie dough?

Yes, you can freeze Monster Cookie dough.  Scoop the dough into cookie balls and place in a sealable freezer-safe container.  When you're ready to bake your cookies, thaw the dough balls in the refrigerator and then bake as the recipe directs.

The BEST Monster Cookies with Chocolate Chips and M&Ms Image

So if you love peanut butter, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate, give these Monster Cookies a try.  Because loaded with oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and M&Ms, these tasty beauties pack in all of the above!

Miss H. and I have sure enjoyed the results of our Monster Cookie testing, and we hope you will too.  Enjoy!

Stack of Peanut Butter Monster Cookies Image
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best monster cookies recipe, how to make monster cookies, peanut butter monster cookies, monster cookies with chocolate chips M&Ms
Cookies & Bars
American
Yield: About 32-34 cookies
Author:
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The BEST Monster Cookies

The BEST Monster Cookies

There are about as many variations of Monster Cookie recipes as there are bakers who bake them.  We tested 5 key variables and tried several different ways to figure out how to make the BEST Monster Cookies around. -- And believe me, these super tasty beauties do not disappoint.
Prep time: 30 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 40 M

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. M&Ms
  • additional chocolate chips and M&Ms for cookie tops

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and peanut butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well mixed and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; continue to beat until well combined.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Add quick oats and mix until just combined.
  5. By hand, stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms.
  6. Drop dough by 3 tablespoon scoops onto a baking sheet, scooping only 8 cookies to a sheet (because these cookies are big) and spacing the cookies apart. Use your hand or the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten each dough ball into a patty.
  7. Place additional chocolate chips and M&Ms on the top of each dough patty.
  8. Bake at 350℉ for 10-11 minutes until set and light golden brown. Allow to cool on pan for 3 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
TRACEY'S NOTES:
  1. Use regular creamy peanut butter, not crunchy or natural peanut butter.  Crunchy and natural peanut butter are drier than creamy, and will therefore make dry cookies. (I use JIF creamy peanut butter.)
  2. Be sure to scoop these cookies large -- a full 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie (a cookie scoop makes this step extra easy). Scooping Monster Cookies large creates a nice-sized, nice-thickness, soft and tender cookie.
  3. Placing additional chocolate chips and M&Ms on the top of each dough patty before baking is key to get that characteristic colorful and extra-loaded Monster Cookie top.  Press the chocolate chips and M&Ms just slightly into the dough to embed them on the top of the cookie.
  4. Do not over bake, as the Monster Cookies will turn rock hard. Bake for just 10-11 minutes only, no more. I always bake mine on the 10 minute end.
  5. Once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before removing them to a rack to cool completely.  They are prone to cracking and crumbling if you try to move them off the baking pan too soon.
  6. As a side note, 3/4 cup M&Ms is about 9 Halloween fun size packs, if you happen to be using up extra Halloween candy to make these!
Created using The Recipes Generator

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3 comments

  1. Those look so delicious!! I love the idea of freezing them for later too; I rarely think to do that with cookie batter and then we eat them all in one or two days. Pinned.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These look delicious Tracy! I love that Americans used peanut butter in so many recipes... it's not something we do in Australia, but I love it.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe for the best monster cookies at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I'm delighted to be featuring them at tomorrow's party and pinning too.
    Hugs,
    Kerryanne

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