If you’ve been following along on this DFK adventure for any substantial length of time, you’ll know that I am a f*cking fiend for chocolate chip cookies. While it’s set in stone that chocolate chip cookies are my favorite of all the cookies in the land, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to make/eat other cookies from time to time as well. Monster cookies happen to be just such a cookie. These are really just variations on an oatmeal raisin cookie base recipe, with lots of little extras added in. There are some general standards that people seem to follow when it comes to monster cookies – oats, peanut butter in some form, raisins, some type of nut, m&ms – but I wouldn’t get too caught up in finding a one and only authority on what should be in your version. It’s your cookie, make it the way you want it.
There are a few small tweaks I make to customize my version of the monster cookie. First off, I toast the oats and walnuts. When I say I toast them, I mean I really toast them. Generally as Americans we have our baked goods very lightly baked, or what is known as blond. In French and most European traditions, baking time is longer and a darker product is usually the norm. What I like about toasting the oats and walnuts so deeply is that it creates great flavor and aroma from maillard browning. Give it a try. Secondly, instead of regular m&m’s I like to use the peanut butter variety. Mostly because I believe the peanut butter m&ms to be the most superior of all varieties (aka they’re my fav), but also because the peanut butter flavor connects to the peanut butter in the dough. Again, your call.
No matter how you customize your monster cookies, always bake them on a double sheet pan (one sheet pan stacked onto the other) and with a non-stick baking mat. This will insulate the heat distributed to the bottom of the cookie and keep it from over baking or burning before the rest of the cookie is done. I would also highly recommend purchasing some standard kitchen sheet pans and do away with the flat versions you get in most home good stores.
Take my word for it, rest the cookie dough in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Resting the dough does lots of good things. First, it allows the dough to chill, and that means the butter will be cold when it hits the oven, melting later in the baking process when the starch and flour in the dough has started to set. When you bake dough at room temp. the butter melts almost immediately and leaks out before the dough has started to bake. Resting the dough also allows the flour to hydrate, and hydrated flour is happy flour. The water that is absorbed will help starch swell during baking which creates good texture, and water that turns to steam will help the cookie rise. Last up, resting the dough gives any flavoring (like vanilla and salt) a chance to meld and strengthen, which means tastier cookies.
When it comes time to portion out the cookie dough, I always use an ice cream scoop (also called a disher). A scoop is cleaner and easier to use that a couple of spoons or your hands and most importantly is super consistent. Scoops come in a wide array of sizes that, duh, will give you different sized cookies. I often use a #16 scoop for a cookie that is about 3″ wide after it’s baked. For today’s recipe I used a #24.
The number on a scoop refers to a fraction of a quart. Since a quart is 32oz / 946g you can convert a scoop to a weight measurement by taking 32 or 946 and dividing by the scoop number. A #16 scoop gives you a 2oz / 59g portion (32/16=2, 946/2=59).
225g butter unsalted
231g brown sugar
10g vanilla extract
125g whole eggs
100g peanut butter
375g all-purpose flour
4g baking powder
2g baking soda
156g steel oats
125g walnuts chopped
100g dried cherries
93g sweetened coconut
Before getting started, bring the butter and whole eggs to room temperature.
Toast the oats and the chopped walnuts (separately) at 350F/176C for 10min. Let them cool and reserve.
Combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until fully homogenized.
Add the peanut butter and mix until homogenized.
Add the whole eggs and mix until emulsified.
Combine and sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda and add them to the butter mixture, mixing until almost combined.
Add the oats, raisins, dried cherries, coconut and m&ms and mix until combined.
Scoop the dough while it’s still soft and easy to work with. Consolidate them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (or any container really) and wrap it all up tightly with plastic wrap before letting it rest in the cooler. These can be frozen if you want and defrosted when you’re ready to bake a few.
When it’s time to bake, stagger the cookies on two stacked sheet pans lined with a non-stick baking mat. If all you have is parchment paper, you can use that too, though I might use two sheets.
Bake at 350F/176C. For chewy cookies bake for 6min, rotate, 4min. For cookies that are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside bake for 6min, rotate, 6min. After removing the cookies from the oven, let them cool for 1min and then gently flatten with a hamburger spatula.