That scoop of peanut butter looks absolutely devastating, I know. I'd love nothing more than to tug that spoon out of the jar, scrape it against the back of my front teeth, and smoosh it up against the roof of my mouth until it threatens to glue my teeth together with its delicious peanut buttery stickiness. I even splurged on the honey roasted peanut butter because it's just a twinge sweet against the toasty taste of the peanuts and gracious, I'm getting a little toasty just thinking about it.

Now I know I've been raving on and on about the Baked cookbook, and I've filled your bellies with homemade granola, Brewer's Blondies, Millionaire's Shortbread, Red Hot Velvet Cake, Lemon Lemon Loaf and the famous Baked Brownie (are we overdosed yet?), but I do hope you can make a little room in your tummy for these cookies. I first heard about these on an episode of Paula Deen something or other, but her nasally voice and 50 karats worth of diamonds are so irritating I find it difficult to keep the channel still for more than few seconds. But I passed by it long enough to hear her describe what she called Monster Cookies - a mish mash collision of peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip and M and Ms into one sounded like an incredibly over the top confection. It was too much, too many flavors going on at one time, there's no way my taste buds wouldn't go into overdrive.

So I dismissed them as another butter-laden, brown-sugar-boosted Paula Deen creation and never gave it another thought. In case my little love affair with Peter Pan up there didn't tip you off, I've been craving peanut butter somethin' fierce lately. I don't know if I've developed some sort of protein deficiency thanks to excessive sweets consumption and only modest amounts of actual food, but I dream about peanut butter these days. I want it on toast and apple slices and in great big spoonfuls straight from the jar. It strikes me as quite odd, because I've never been a huge fan of peanut butter (or bananas, but we all know how that ended up). I didn't like that it tasted hot in the back of my throat, or that the ratio of peanut butter to jelly was always too high in my lunchbox - the general thickness of it all was unappealing. I've since crossed over to the dark side.

Despite what Paula Deen says, these cookies are not excessive. It may sound like an everything but the kitchen sink sort of thing, but this cookie is truly greater than the sum of its parts.They're sweet but not cloyingly so, and this great big batch is built on less than two sticks of butter and nearly six cups of oats (so that counts as breakfast, if you ask me). I cringed when I saw the addition of corn syrup in the recipe, but it seems that itsy bitsy amount works some sort of magic on these cookies, I imagine something out of Fantasia would suit just fine. So don't leave it out, I beg you. I honestly have no idea what would happen if you did, but I imagine it would resemble the shift of tectonic plates or a small scale tsunami. Just don't do it.

I learned the hard way the best way to store these Gremlin-esque cookies. I had perfectly good intentions to pack them up for a family at my church alongside a cooler stuffed with chicken tortilla soup, avocados and sour cream. They were just warm to the touch so I slipped them into a gallon sized Ziploc only to find they collapsed under their own weight once I picked the bag up. Strike one. It was a well enough plan, sure, until the soccer Mom in front of me slammed on her brakes, so I slammed on mine, that cooler pitched forward onto the plastic bag of cookies and crushed what was left of them into a thousand tiny bits and crumbles. Strike two. And then I saw the avocados turned brown and the sour cream was warm so I had to go to the store and restock. Strike three. (Cue the meltdown). Let them cool completely, then package them into some sturdy Tupperware. I find they hold together even better if you freeze them and then defrost.

Warning: If you're anything like me, you're baking cookies because you want something sweet from the oven like...now. So you can imagine my irritation when I had this dough ready to go and then I saw "chill for five hours" in the recipe. (See? These cookies really do bring out the monster in you.) That kind of wait time is excruciating when your sweet tooth is nagging, but I promise that a spoonful of the dough will hold you over until they're ready to bake.

Monster Cookies
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind!)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup plain M&M's

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and oats. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter until smooth and pale. Add sugars and mix until just incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla, corn syrup and peanut butter and mix until just smooth. Stir in oat mixture in three additions, then fold in chocolate chips and candies. Refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls (or larger, they're flexible monster like that). Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the cookies sheets from top to bottom and front to bake about halfway through the baking time.

Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. These cookies freeze beautifully for at least two months or at room temperature for 4-5 days.

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