cookies and bars, gluten-free

Monster Cookies and a Fun Staycation

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This summer has been a hectic one for my family. The big move and the seemingly never-ending packing and unpacking have been major consumers of our precious summer days.  It just doesn’t seem like we been able to squeeze in as much fun as we normally do this go-around. 

Slowly, but surely, we are settling in and catching up. Thankfully, we’ve been able to get out and about some in these last few weeks. The kids got to do a terrific eight-morning session of swim lessons at a local university and they enjoyed that very much.

Last week, we got to sneak away for an extended visit with my family on the coast. My girl stayed with her auntie (and got good and spoiled!) while my son and I got to go explore in Port Aransas, a popular tourist town on Mustang Island, for a couple of nights. We ate some great seafood and took Rex for long relaxing walks on the beach. We also took a boat tour to watch wild, bottle-nose dolphins in the town harbor. We were lucky and saw lots of dolphins out that evening. As I understand it, they aren’t always so cooperative and it was really fun!

We picked up my little girl for our last day on the beach and she made the most of it. She wore herself out playing in the waves and she managed to fill up her bucket with sea shells! Honestly, it’s a bucketful of pieces from broken shells and broken sand dollars, but a few shells are intact and pretty. We’ll see how crafty we can get with those sometime soon.

Even though we had so much fun last week, I can’t help myself and I feel almost guilty for how ready I am for fall. I’m not necessarily ready for the kids to be back in school, but ready for a teeny-tiny temperature drop. Seriously, these 110°, ultra-humid August days are just a form of misery for me. It’s just redonkulously hot! (yes, I said ‘redonkulous’!) 

I’ve still got a few summertime recipes to share, but for today I’m sharing one of my favorite fall treats, these classic monster cookies! I felt lucky to have everything on-hand to make a batch last weekend. They are hearty cookies made with whole oats, peanut butter, brown sugar, candy-coated chocolate candy and milk chocolate chips.

With all those goodies packed into them and their rich peanut butter flavor, it’s more than just the name that makes me think of Halloween…and I can hardly wait! (my bad).

These are just a few pics I snapped and a short video of the dolphins I took on our little getaway to the beach!


Monster Cookies                                                               printable recipe

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen


  • 4-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces (m&ms)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine the oats, baking powder and salt, stir well and set aside.

2. Beat the butter with and electric mixer until creamy (or just use a wooden spoon), add in both sugars, one cup at a time and mix well. Mix in the peanut butter, eggs, corn syrup and vanilla extract.

3. Combine the oat mixture with the peanut butter mixture, one half at a time and stir well. Fold in the candy pieces and chocolate chips.

4. Drop heaping tablespoons (they are supposed to be big!) of the cookie dough onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies appear done and are lightly browned around the edge.

5. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheet and then move to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!


  1. This is the kind of monster I wouldn't mind running into in a dark alley. GREG

  2. aw, i love your pictures! what cute kids. loving these cookies too–i always have tiny amounts of random mix-ins in my pantry so monster cookies are a great way to clean up!

  3. Lucky for us in Tucson, when it gets to 110°, it's dry. It makes it much more livable… Your mini vacation at the beach looks wonderful – I've only seen dolphins once back in New England, and it was very exciting! Thanks for the great cookie recipe, too! Good luck with the first day of school, Marcelle&

  4. I can't stand hot and humid weather either. Though the summer over here is usually mild, I am too ready for pumpkin season. These cookies look awesome!

  5. Yup, I'm ready for some cooler weather too. But it can wait until I've had one or two of these cookies. 🙂 Fun read — thanks.

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