White Whale Monster Cookies

Cookies, Unfussy

Anyone that grew up in Iowa City will tell you that the monster cookie at Cookies & More in the Old Capitol Mall is the all-time greatest cookie. I have been testing monster cookie recipes for years trying to crack the code. I finally got it (it’s not an oatmeal cookie with peanut butter, it’s a peanut butter cookie with oatmeal). My sister-in-law, Katherine, tested the recipe and said the only thing it lacks is awkward adolescence and the mall smell.

If using Jif/Skippy peanut butter instead of natural peanut butter, add an extra 1/2 cup quick oats to the recipe.

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups M&Ms

Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars and honey together until very light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the mixture is uniform in color.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrape bowl.

Sift flour, soda, powder and salt and add to mixer. Stir until well combined, scrape bowl and mix well. Add oats and chocolate chips and mix well, scraping if necessary. You CAN mix in the M&Ms at this point, but if you want to be able to see them perfectly on top, reserve M&Ms until you have scooped the cookies.

Using about 3 TBSP of dough per mound, scoop the dough into mounds on a cookie sheet or plate that you can fit in your refrigerator to chill. Press 5-6 M&Ms onto the top of each mound. Chill at least an hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer cookie dough balls to a parchment lined baking sheet, spaced about 3″ apart (you can roll them slightly into a more uniform ball at this point if you are into that sort of thing). Press each cookie down to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. The center will look slightly under-baked. Cool completely on cookie sheets- they will fall apart if you try to remove them too quickly, but will firm up as they cool.

Repeat with remaining dough, or freeze dough balls and bake on demand. The cookies can be baked from frozen, you will just need to lengthen the baking time by 5 minutes or so.

Breakfast Cookies

Cookies, Unfussy

I’ve been eating these breakfast cookies for about two weeks now. They are perfectly chewy and chock full of seeds, fruit and nuts. It’s safe to say they are a great “on-the-go” breakfast, but I wouldn’t know. I DO know that they are a great “going-nowhere-soon” breakfast.

  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 10 dates
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup pepitas
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup assorted dried fruit (raisins, craisins, cherries, blueberries, chopped apricots, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts until lightly browned for about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Combine almond butter and dates in a food processor and process until pureed. Add coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and process until smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in oats, toasted walnuts, pepitas, coconut, chia and sesame seeds, dried fruit.

Add the pureed mixture to the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Let sit 30 minutes.

Using about 1/3 cup of dough for each ball, scoop onto lined or greased baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten each cookie slightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until just starting to brown on the edges. Let cool completely.

These keep well for a week. Or you can freeze the scooped cookie dough balls for up to a month.

Double Chocolate Cookies

Cookies, Unfussy

I was workshopping these cookies for awhile – the end result is soft chocolatey goodness.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, optional

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until very light and fluffy 5-10 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed and mixing until the mixture is all the same pale color.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping as necessary. Add vanilla and mix.

Sift together cocoa, flour, soda and salt. Add to mixer and stir to combine well on low speed. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Mix in chocolate chips and walnuts, if desired.

Scoop 3 tablespoon mounds onto cookie sheet, leaving 2″ between each cookie.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until the edges are firm and the centers seem a little undercooked.

Cool 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheets and baking remaining dough. Or scoop and freeze dough balls for up to a month -baking a couple from frozen at 9:30pm when you need a little something.

Chocolate Black Sesame Rugelach

A little bit fussy, Cookies, Food Hoarding Confessions

A little leftover hand pie dough, black sesame paste from my freezer, and a bar of chocolate with almonds all found each other today.

Dough

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, straight from the refrigerator
  • 1 stick butter, straight from the refrigerator
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Black Sesame and Chocolate Filling

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (with or without almonds), chopped

1 beaten egg and coarse sugar for topping

For the dough: Cut the cream cheese and butter into cubes. Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor and blend. Toss in cream cheese and butter. Pulse until the dough comes together – check it by taking the lid of and pinching some dough – if it sticks together it is ready.

Divide dough into two pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

For the filling: Toast sesame seeds in a small skillet. Let cool completely. In a food processor or blender, combine cooled sesame seeds, butter and sugar. Process into a paste.

Chop chocolate into small pieces and set aside.

When ready to assemble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil (these will leak a bit).

Divide the dough into two. One at a time, roll out on lightly floured surface to about a 10-inch circle. Spread 1/2 of black sesame paste onto one circle and sprinkle half the chopped chocolate on top.

Cut the circle into 16 pieces, like a pizza, first in half, then quarters, then into eighths, etc… Roll up each triangle starting with the fat end of the triangle. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

If desired, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Cookies, Unfussy

These are chewy, rich and delicious. The brown butter is key.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with a foil sling (leave foil overhanging out of the pan to make removing the bars easier). Lightly grease the foil.

Combine flour, oats, soda and salt in a medium bowl. Place butterscotch chips in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until the butter is brown and nutty – this could take up to 15 minutes or so. Pour browned butter over the butterscotch chips, scraping all the brown bits at the bottom of the saucepan and including them too. Whisk until butterscotch chips are melted. Whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.

Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth evenly.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the edges are brown and the center is just firm.

Let cook completely in the pan before lifting out and cutting into squares.

This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.