Category Archives: sweets

Monster Cookies

My work is in the midst of United Way week, where we come up with creative ways to donate money to the organization. Every year we have a bake sale and I decided to bake something to donate since I’m obviously in a baking mood.

I discovered monster cookies in college when my friend Liz’s grandparents mailed some to her dorm. I had never heard of such a thing: oatmeal, peanut butter, M&Ms, chocolate chips… why was I deprived so long!? And why did I wait nine years to recreate these?! Fool. Monster cookies sound like a Halloween treat, so it was time to make them.

Ingredients
(makes 22-24 cookies, adapted from Paula Deen)
3 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick margerine (or butter), softened
1 cup M&Ms
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (it’s ok if you don’t have these–it’s just for texture)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

2. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and white sugar and brown sugar. Mix well with a mixer.

3. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter or margarine. Mix well with the mixer.

4. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, (you can use 1/4c raisins too if you want) baking soda, flour and oatmeal. Mix by hand and try not to over mix.

5. Use an ice-cream scoop and drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Seriously:  use parchment paper. If you don’t have multiple cookie sheets, store the dough in the fridge while the cookies bake.

6. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large tupperware or resealable plastic bags.

I searched all over the internet for a good recipe, and I read tons of reviews on multiple recipes and found that the Paula Deen recipe was “the best” if you modified it slightly; added a little flour, reduced the sugar, omitted raisins, made the cookies large rather than small so they wouldn’t get hard and flat. I modified the recipe even more and added extra vanilla, upped the amount of M&Ms and stuck in some rolled oats for texture.

These cookies were great; lots of peanut butter flavor, chocolaty without being overboard and chewy delicious.

Pumpkin Scones

I ate a Starbucks pumpkin scone once about six years ago (I worked there right after undergrad for a few months, the discount was dangerous) and every year since, when the new pumpkin treats come out wayyyy too early, I think “oh I should try to make those.” Also, who remembers that they ate a scone six years ago!?

After these past few weeks of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice torment, coupled with this silly early Minneapolis fall weather, I found a copycat recipe to make. Iowa Girl Eats calls these Starbucks Clone Pumpkin Scones: 

Ingredients
(recipe modified from IowaGirlEats)
2 cups flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 egg
6 Tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cubed

For the plain glaze: 
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk

For the spiced drizzle:
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
pinch of pumpkin pie spice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Please use parchment paper, it works miracles.

2. In the bowl of a large food processor (or in a large bowl) combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pulse or whisk to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Alternatively, use pastry cutter to blend butter in. I didn’t have either of these so I* used two knives to cut the butter into the flour. Worked like a charm. (*by I, I mean my Mom. She bought me a dough blender later in the day.)

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk and egg. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Alternatively, stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together, then flatten into a circle 1″ thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.

4. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.It works best if you can cool your scones in front of an open window with a fall breeze.

5. When scones are cool, whisk together the plain glaze ingredients, then spoon on top and spread slightly. I didn’t want these to be too sweet, so I did a spoon drizzle and just put a little bit on. Let harden for 10 minutes, then whisk together the spiced drizzle ingredients and drizzle on top. Let harden completely, about 1/2 hour, before serving. Store in an air-tight container or ziploc for 1 day.

These were very delicious, a little less dense than Starbucks but more clean and fresh tasting. I think these could use a bit more icing, but I was attempting to keep these sort of healthy (310 calories, 12g-ish fat each compared to Starbucks scones at 480cal, 17g fat).

The recipe is only supposed to make 6… but I somehow wound up with 4 regular size scones and two giant scones, so I turned the recipe into 6.5 servings. Who cares, these were delicious. 6.5 is the perfect amount of scones to make; I’ve gifted three, split one and will enjoy the rest later in the week with a cup of coffee, of course.