Monday, April 19, 2010

Homemade Monster Cookies

Saturday was a chilly and cloudy afternoon.  But the nippy weather was my motivation for turning on my oven to satisfy a cookie craving.  The recipe I chose to make comes from "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking," by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  Rightfully called "monster cookies," they are one part chocolate chip, one part peanut butter and one part oatmeal.  The next time I'm asked to bring cookies to a pot luck dinner or tea party, I'll make these again without altering a single ingredient.  Saturday's version was delicious too -- a tad healthier and less sweet -- and I certainly had no trouble eating too many of them.  But you just know that LOTS of butter and M&M's make cookies all the more divine.  You just know it!  Below is the original recipe, with my changes, outlined in blue notes.

Monster Cookies
½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

Pinch of salt 
5 ¾ cups rolled oats

1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes. [I reduced the butter (from 12 tbsp) to 2 tablespoons and used drops of water for moisture when mixing.]
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs

¼ teaspoon light corn syrup  [I used honey.]
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 oz) M&M's [I omitted the M&M's and substituted unsalted peanuts to make a peanut nutty batch that was less sweet.]

Directions (from the cookbook):
1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the oats and stir until the ingredients are evenly combined.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and pale in color. Add the sugars and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Note: I mixed the ingredients by hand.
3. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth (about 20 seconds) and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and beat until just incorporated.
4. Scrape down the bowl and add the peanut butter. Mix on low speed until just combined. Add the oat mixture in three additions, mixing on low speed until just incorporated.
5. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the chocolate chips and M&Ms. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for 5 hours. [I put it in the freezer until I could work with the dough. I didn't have 5 hours.]
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop out the dough in 2-tablespoon-size balls onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the cookies just begin to brown. Let cool on the pans for 8 to 10 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. [I scooped the dough in 1 tablespoon sized balls and was careful not to handle them too much.]
8. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Yields 40 cookies [or 70 smaller]. Enjoy!
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