monster cookies

Back when my older daughter was a baby, I signed up to volunteer for the Big Brother Big Sister program. They matched me up with Rosie, a little girl of nine years old. Over the next nine years, we met almost every single week.

Together we cooked, traveled to West Virginia, went to plays and performances, read books, visited, scrap booked, painted pottery, butchered chickens, went for walks, etc. As she got older and her life got busier, we settled for a weekly breakfast at the local bagel shop. Now she is a young woman, a mother of two (just saying that makes me feel so old), and a nursing student.

A couple weeks ago, she brought her baby boys out to visit me. We visited while I worked in the kitchen and the boys ran circles around the table. I was making a “weird” salad—the wheat berry one.

“You know, there’s one thing I do with my boys that you taught me,” she said.

“What’s that? I asked.

“I always make them take at least one taste of everything.” And she boldly forked up a bite of salad for herself and another for the toddler.

It’s true. Whenever she turned up her nose at my weird cooking, I always had her take at least a no-thank you helping. She fussed sometimes, but for the most part she was quite good natured about my food-loving foistyness.

“I’ve been checking your blog,” Rosie continued. “There’s one recipe you still don’t have on there—the monster cookies.”

“You are so right. I really need to write about them, don’t I.”

Back in the early years of our relationship, we mixed up a batch of monster cookies. It must’ve made a monstrous (tee-hee) impression, what with the dozen eggs, three pounds of peanut butter, and 18 cups of oats, because she’s talked about those monster cookies ever since.

A couple days after her visit, Rosie posted two words on my Facebook wall: Monster cookies.

That did it. I bought the ingredients, made the cookies, and now I’m writing the recipe down here.

Rosie, this one’s for you! I love you, sweetie!

Monster Cookies
The recipe comes from my mother. When I was a kid, we mixed the dough up by hand, in a baby bathtub.

A note about the peanut butter: in this case “two cups a pound the world ’round” does not apply. This is not six cups of peanut butter. I’m not sure what the amount is in cup measurements. I simply eyeballed the jars’ ounces and then threw in a little more for good measure (pun intended).

Also, I added more Reese’s Pieces. You can add M&Ms, too, if you wish, but I think the Reese’s Pieces are better.

And about the oatmeal, I used quick oats, not instant or rolled. You can use a mix of rolled and quick (not instant), but I wouldn’t use only rolled as the cookies might turn out less soft and chewy and more crumbly. Though I don’t know that for a fact…

12 eggs, well beaten
6 cups firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 pound butter, melted
3 pounds peanut butter
8 teaspoons baking soda
18 cups oatmeal
1 pound chocolate chips
1 pounds Reese’s Pieces

In your largest bowl, or a very clean baby bathtub, stir together the eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in the peanut butter and melted butter. Mix the baking soda with a cup or two of oatmeal and stir that in. Add the remaining oatmeal and mix well. Add the candy pieces and stir to combine.

Shape the dough into ping-pong-sized balls, plum-sized balls, or even—heaven help us—tennis ball-sized balls!, and place on greased cookie sheets. Flatten the dough with your fingers and tuck in the ragged edges. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees until they are slightly golden around the edges and still puffy, tender, and a bit wet in the middle. Once out of the oven, allow them to firm up on the cookie sheets for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Eat the cookies warm, with a tall glass of cold milk alongside.

Both the baked cookies and the cookie dough freeze well.

Yield: enough.

This same time, years previous: Thanksgiving of 2011, Thanksgiving of 2010, Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin, pumpkin pie


  • Mummy bugger

    I had to go find my old recipe. 1976 handwriting. Lol. Yes, 3# jar of peanut butter. No flour. 18 Cups, 1 canister of quick oatmeal. Ours too said "In a clean bathtub, mix…" I thought we were the clever ones, but apparently that was part of the original folklore of this recipe. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

  • Anonymous

    My old recipe – from home ec That I cannot find had 3# peanut butter. It was a 3 pound jar we used. I remember the recipe starting "in a large bathtub…" It was an easy recipe because there wasn't a lot of measuring. It was 1 dozen eggs, 1 pound butter, 3 pounds (1 jar) peanut butter, 1 # bag of dark brown sugar… ….. 1 canister of quaker oatmeal, 1 bag (16 oz back then) of choc. chips. 1 bag of MM 1 bag peanut MM, I remember it having flour in it though. that was one of the "measurable" items. But mostly it was more of dumping in whole containers of things. and I remember laughing at the bathtub reference. Gotta find that recipe.

  • the domestic fringe

    These look really good, but 3 pounds of peanut butter? Holy heck! That's gonna make a lot of cookies. Maybe I'll cut this recipe in half. Is that legal?

  • Margo

    I love the story with this recipe! I make mine a little differently (that's heretical, right?) and I have never had the nerve to make the entire batch, I confess. I always halve it. I consider these coookies practically health food with all the peanut butter and oatmeal – we just emptied the cookie jar, so maybe this should be the next cookie. . .

  • teekaroo

    I love monster cookies! And your pictures just made me eat a whole handful of chocolate chips. Can't wait long enough for cookies. 🙂

  • Carol S-B

    Yes! We called them monster cookies for cookie monsters… Handwritten on my recipe card is "Disgusting cookies-> Makes 2 gross!" Ha ha. Ahem. Yes, a gross is a dozen dozen (144). And they are not the least bit disgusting. And the handwriting is mine.
    Oh, these make mighty fine ice cream sandwiches… if you're careful about chewing them, since frozen M&Ms (I use smarties, Jennifer!) are kinda hard.

  • Anonymous

    You were the best of thing i that came to into planning Rosie life the family she needed at the time thanks for begin there.-sue

  • Melissa @ thelittlegrayhouse

    Those look amazing! As for the peanut butter maybe it matters whether you use natural or some with added oil? Maybe it affects the weight? Just guessing.

    • Jennifer Jo

      That's what I thought, too! But when I went to weigh it, it ended up being a good deal less than the expected six cups. Then again, I may have been doing bad math…

      • Rosie barber

        Jennifer here i am almost 29 its been almost 20 years and im searching the blog for my cookies. I will always appreciate everything you ever did for me or installed in my heart. Sending my love

        • Jennifer Jo

          Aw, Rosie — thank you!!! Just yesterday, driving through town, I mentioned you to John; we were both wondering where you’re living now and how you’re doing…. I hope all is well! xoxo

    • Kris

      Maybe the weight of peanut butter is in fluid ounces, which has to do with volume. So maybe a pound of peanut butter is measurement of 16 fluid ounces (that is, two cups volume), rather than the actual 16 ounces dry weight.

      So my question is, if you eyeballed the jars' ounces, which may be fluid ounces, how many ounces did you put in? If you put in 3 pounds according to the jars' stated weight, then didn't you put in six cups, since one pound jar is two cups?

    • Jennifer Jo

      Okay. Here's what I did. My jars are 15 ounces each and there are about 23 tablespoons per jar. In theory, three pounds of PB would equal 6 cups which would equal 96 tablespoons. However, three 15-ounce jars (nearly the full 6 cups) equals only 72 tablespoons. Even with another 8 tablespoons or so added on for the missing three ounces, I still came up one cup short of the projected 96 tablespoons. I ended up going by the weight of the jars: three, plus a scoop.

      I guess the peanut butter company uses larger than normal tablespoons?

    • Kris

      Well, this is all rather amusing, isn't it? 🙂 I just weighed an empty peanut butter jar and then compared that to the weight of a nearly full peanut butter jar — lo, and behold, the peanut butter weighed nearly a full pound.

      Now I'll stop talking about how much crushed nuts weigh….hehehe…

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