Getting a box of these Chocolate Monster Cookies with holiday M & Ms is like receiving a giant Christmas hug.
Last Monday at this time the Mr. was in the throes of dehydration and we were hanging out in the ER, where the staff had decided the Jerry Springer Show was the most appropriate choice for such a setting. At first, it seemed like an odd choice. All around me, people were in varying states of distress. Loud cell phone talkers in one corner, dry heavers in the other, and people hacking up lungs somewhere in the middle. The din of Jerry’s drama seemed like a poor salve for the wounded, exhausted souls of the emergency room.
Yet as the hours wore on (why in the world are Monday mornings at the ER so darn busy?!), I realized perhaps this was a very intentional choice. You see, after you hear a couple people find out on live television that their boyfriend is cheating on them with their best friend/cousin, you start to think perhaps your lot isn’t so bad after all. Sure, you might be dehydrated, nauseous, or slowly bleeding out, but at least your daughter isn’t pregnant with your boyfriend’s baby. Small comfort, but comfort nonetheless.
Today, I want to talk about a different kind of comfort–a much better kind. I’m talking about the comfort that comes in the form of homemade hot soup or a tin of your favorite chocolate chip cookies. There is a reason people bombard you with casseroles after a death in the family or a surgery or a new baby. Sometimes food is the most tangible way to show someone you care, that they’re loved, and that you’ve got their back.
This year I was blessed to participate in the Desserts for the Deserving campaign put on by the lovely Amanda of I Am Baker. This campaign pairs deserving candidates with bakers willing to make a special treat just for them. This year, I was paired with D (not her real name), a woman who has been battling breast cancer for the past several months. She’s undergoing her last round of chemo treatments right now, in the midst of the holiday season, and her friend thought a batch of cookies might be just the thing to help cheer her spirits.
Cookies seem like such a small thing in the face of a giant like cancer. And I know many others are facing giants this year–giants much bigger than being subjected to an afternoon of Jerry Springer at the ER. Hearing stories like D’s remind me of all I have to be grateful for. They also remind me that no matter where I find myself in life, no matter what personal struggles I may be going through, there’s always a way I can give to others–whether it’s a coffee date, a handwritten note, a free housecleaning, or in this case, a box of Monster cookies.
In my opinion, Monster Cookies are the ultimate comfort cookie. They’re hearty, chewy cookies packed to the brim with peanut butter and oats and studded with M & Ms and chocolate chips. I figured you can never go wrong with more chocolate, so for this batch I added some cocoa powder and melted chocolate to the batter and covered them in holiday M & Ms. The result is sort of like a hot chocolate peanut butter sandwich. Which is to say, it’s good. Real good.
Is there someone in your life that’s facing a giant this Christmas? Show them some love with whatever time, gifts, and resources you have. And if you’re too far away to wrap them up in a big bear hug, Chocolate Monster Cookies make a darn good plan B. They’re the universal symbol for “You’re awesome, I love you, and We’re in this together.”
- 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup red and green M & Ms, plus more for the top of the cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine peanut butter, sugars, and butter. Using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth and combined. Beat in melted chocolate and cocoa powder until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. With the mixer on stir, add oats and baking soda and stir until combined. (My mixer was really full at this point, so make sure to keep on low speed or you may end up with a peanut butter oatmeal splatter!). Stir in chocolate chips and M & Ms.
- Drop cookies by the heaping Tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Press down gently with the palm of your hand. Press additional M & Ms onto the surface of each cookie if desired.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are puffed and set on the outside but still a little gooey in the middle. Remove from oven and allow to set up on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing. Always err on the side of under baking cookies. Even if they look a little “unset” in the middle, go ahead and take them out. They’ll set up on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Adapted from Recipe Girl