Tag Archives: chocolate

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.

(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)

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.


Lots of Chocolate Cowboy Oatmeal Bars

I don’t have crave chocolate or dessert, but it seems like from this blog that I do. I just really like to bake in the cold months!  Luckily, Brent had a work potluck and I wanted to try make cookie bars, which I’ve never done before. I found a recipe on Land O’Lakes.com for Cowboy Oatmeal Bars (#ClientAlert) and decided to make them with what I had on hand. M&Ms and chocolate chips instead of walnuts and peanut butter chips.

Lots of Chocolate Cowboy Oatmeal Bars
(makes 24 bars, adapted from Land O’Lakes)

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 cup milk or real semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine butter, brown sugar and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.

4. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed.

5. Stir in oats; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms. You can stir in 1 cup of anything else you’d like too: Land O’Lakes suggests peanut butter chips and walnuts, butterscotch chips could be good. Peanut butter could be awesome as well.

6. Press dough evenly into ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake for 16 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. (I cooked these forever, they seemed to never get brown, but they turned out great)

7. Cut these while they are hot! I cut the pan into 24 bars. Then let them cool completely and pack them away in a tupperware when cool.

These are very chocolaty, moist (not dry–which was my fear!) and Brent seemed to like them (he ate two to “test them”). They were easy to cut and pack up away. I think these were missing a peanut butter flavor and if I made them again I’d for sure get those peanut butter chips, or even add peanut butter to the mix.

Layer cake success

I have only made a layer cake once or twice in my life. It seemed easier to ice a sheet cake, leave it in a pan and call it a day… but it’s just not as pretty.

I hosted book club a few weeks ago, and I decided a cake was in order. I would have loved to make a cake from scratch, but Betty Crocker is nearly as good and v. easy so I decided a mix would suffice for a weeknight cake. Devil’s food seemed like a good choice since it is a little lighter than a dense chocolate cake.I followed the directions on the back of the box and then Pam’d two 8″ circular cake pans. I wanted the layers to be even so I decided to weigh the two cake pans and try to get them to near the same weight.I got them to within about  5oz of each other, so I was pretty pleased. I guess I’m not so pleased that my food scale is super dirty, but at least that means it’s well used. I prefer to weigh ingredients rather than using measuring cups as it’s more accurate.

I shook the cake pans around a bit to get the batter even before baking and then tossed them in the oven.After they were out is where I had to face my fears… I was afraid one of the cakes was going to get stuck and get ruined in the pan. So, I set up my camera phone to show you the results.

Success! Both of the layers were fairly pretty and  even, so I didn’t have to do any shaving or evening. Then, although buttercream is pretty easy to make, I used a store bought vanilla icing to ice the cakes after a night in the fridge. I don’t have a cake plate, so I turned a large plate upside down and it worked really well.I think I’m just writing this post to show these sweet plates I found at a place called The Vintage Shed in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin last summer. It was the first time I got to use them!

I should go make a cake now. You know, for another excuse to bust out those pretty plates.